A woman who went over Huka Falls this afternoon "popped up" and started breaststroking around in the pool at the bottom before she was picked up by a jetboat, a witness says.

An off-duty police officer who witnessed the whole incident at about 2.40pm but did not want to be named said the woman was seen standing on rocks upstream of the Huka Falls bridge and was "hanging around" on them for some time.

She was wearing black pants, a peach-coloured top and appeared to be in about her 60s, with dark grey hair.

A man went out onto the rocks to talk to her and she moved closer and closer to the water until eventually she went in, the witness said.


It was not clear whether she slipped in or got into the water deliberately.

The woman went down the river and under the bridge where she was submerged under the water.

She went over the falls at the bottom and then popped up and was seen swimming around.

The man rang 111 and instructed the operator to dispatch a jet boat to the bottom of the falls. He also climbed down the bank to try to reach her, but Hukafalls Jet arrived and plucked her from the water.

The Huka Falls area was as busy as it normally is on weekends, with the carpark two-thirds full, 20 or so people on the bridge and more in the surrounding areas.

The Waikato River was running at a low flow of about 60 cubic metres per second at the time.

A police media spokeswoman said she had no information on the woman's injuries, only that she was being checked by ambulance staff.