Climber seriously injured in fall near Wanaka

A rock climber was seriously injured in a fall at a popular climbing spot near Wanaka yesterday afternoon.

The man, in his early 30s, was climbing a crag around 1.30pm at Hospital Flat, 12km from Wanaka, when he fell about 15m.

An ambulance was dispatched to the scene, along with a rescue helicopter from Queenstown with a St John paramedic on board. Three LandSAR volunteers also attended the incident.

St John South Island communications adviser Ian Henderson said a doctor was already at the accident site when the emergency workers arrived.

The incident report said the climber's legs were possibly broken and he was flown to Dunedin Hospital, Mr Henderson said.

Wanaka police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson understood the man also had suspected spinal injuries.

It was not known where the man was from or who he was climbing with at the time of the accident.

Hospital Flat is a boulder-strewn area on the road to the Matukituki Valley entrance to Mount Aspiring National Park.

The Department of Conservation website describes the area as ''an acclaimed rock or sport climbing area that wasn't named because it hospitalised climbers!''

Rather, the name dated back to when farmers used the area as a place to rest ailing horses, sheep and cattle, the website says.

-lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz