The 24-year-old man who injured his back after he jumped off the Omanawa Falls is in a stable condition in Middlemore Hospital.

A Middlemore Hospital spokesperson said he was in an orthopaedic ward after he was transferred to Middlemore from Tauranga Hospital overnight.

No further details of the man's injuries could be released for privacy reasons.

St John Ambulance staff were called to the waterfall, about 30 minutes' drive from Tauranga, at 4.50pm yesterday, and the injured man was flown out at 7.30pm.


Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter pilot Todd Dunham said the man had jumped from a height of about 18m.

"The impact with the water resulted in a serious back injury and friends and family assisted him to the side of the water hole. The helicopter winched a paramedic to a close proximity to the patient as there was a overhanging cliff face and waited for about half an hour for the patient to be stabilised and manoeuvred to a position where he and the paramedic could be winched into the helicopter."

Tauranga man Steven, who didn't want this last name used, had been hiking in the area when the man injured himself.

"We heard the boom. It sounded bad," he told the Bay of Plenty Times last night.

Steven said the injured man had climbed to the top of the falls to jump off, but landed in the water on his bottom rather than his feet.

He was pale and in a lot of pain and could not feel his feet by the time others at the falls pulled him from the water, he said.

About eight people formed a chain to carry the man on a board to the other side of the pool from where he was winched out.