No more goat-chasing after cliff fall

A man who fell 40 metres down a cliff while chasing a wild goat says he's lucky to be alive.

"They said I should've either been dead or paralysed," the 26-year-old said of the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter crew, which winched him from the scene of his accident and flew him to Hawke's Bay Hospital after he fell down a sheer cliff face on Tuesday.

The man said the trouble began just after breakfast on Tuesday morning at the farm in Tangoio, north of Napier, where he lives. "I looked out the window and saw goats on our land. I thought I'd catch my stepdaughter a goat because it's her birthday soon."

However, as he pursued a goat on the side of a hill, he lost his footing. "I forgot there was a drop. I slid straight off."

He flipped and cartwheeled down the hill like a rag doll, hitting boulders on the way.

"I just kept going. I landed on a boulder on my side, which cartwheeled me over and I smashed my face on the next boulder."

Finally he broke the fall with his leg.

He was grateful to his sister-in-law, who heard him yelling for help after 10 minutes.

It was an hour-long wait for emergency services while he lay on the cliff in "unbearable" pain.

"I felt like I was ready to pass out ... I was holding onto the cliff," the man said.

The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter staff put him to sleep before placing him on a stretcher and winching him into the hovering helicopter. When he woke, he was in the air on his way to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

The man's injuries include broken ribs and a cracked fibula. He has begun walking with crutches and is unsure when he will be discharged.

He said he no longer wanted to catch a goat for his stepdaughter.

"No, I'm not after a goat. We'll just be going to McDonald's now."

- Harrison Christian of Hawke's Bay Today

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