A man has survived a 15m fall from the top of a waterfall into a shallow pool near Te Anau where he needed to be rescued by a helicopter.

Sergeant Tod Hollebon of Te Anau Police said it was "incredible" the man survived the fall on the Stockyard Track at Lake Manapouri yesterday.

He suffered only moderate injuries including a broken elbow and broken foot, Mr Hollebon said.

"It was very fortunate given the height he did not suffer more severe or fatal injuries, quite incredible really," he said.


"He was in some pain and he was cold but appeared pleased to be heading to hospital."

The 49-year-old fell about 1.30pm yesterday.

His wife and a friend who was with them phoned police but were only able to pass on a small amount of detail before they lost mobile coverage.

The Southern Lakes Search and Rescue Helicopter managed to find the trio at the base of the falls.

A doctor and police search and rescue officer were winched to a nearby area and made their way to the injured man.

He was stabilised at the scene before being winched out by the helicopter and flown to Kew Hospital at Invercargill.

Mr Hollebon said the group, who had boated across Lake Manapouri to the track where the man fell, was well equipped with communication devices, including a radio on the boat.

However, he said they had an emergency locator beacon but had forgotten to take it with them on the trip.