Man plunges 40m at death-fall memorial

An elderly man plunged 40m down a bank on to rocks while visiting a memorial to a relative who died at the site falling down a waterfall.

The Aucklander, aged in his 70s, was walking down a steep path near the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge, a popular tourist spot for groups kayaking the remote Whanganui River Valley, with his 73-year-old sister yesterday.

He went to pick up her glasses when he fell shortly after noon.

The earthmoving contractor was visiting a monument to a relative who had died there 75 years ago, Fairfax reported.

Lodge owner Joe Adams, who was guiding the siblings back down the track, reportedly found the man underwater at the bottom of the bank, but still conscious.

A Palmerston North rescue helicopter spokesman said Mr Adams used a jetboat to take the injured man back to the lodge, from where he was flown to Whanganui Hospital.

The lodge is isolated and has no vehicle access.

"The rescue helicopter arrived without delay at the lodge, landing on the expansive lawns, and the onboard St John ambulance intensive care paramedic stablised the patient before he was airlifted to Whanganui Hospital in a serious condition," the spokesman said.

A hospital spokeswoman said the man was in a stable condition.

- Morgan Tait of the New Zealand Herald

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