Man critical after accident at falls

A Hastings man was in critical, but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital last night after a "diving accident" at Tangoio Falls, north of Napier.

The 22-year-old was rushed to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the Lowe Rescue Helicopter with suspected head and neck injuries about 3pm on Saturday, before being transferred to Christchurch for specialist care yesterday.

He had been part of a group who walked for 30 minutes to reach the waterfall, which is known as one of the region's top tourist attractions.

Rescue Helicopter spokeswoman Louise Harvey said the helicopter had to land on a nearby road, while paramedics tramped in to lift the man out by foot.

St John Ambulance Service staff were first on the scene and had the patient on a stretcher by the time paramedics arrived.

It is unclear exactly where the man had jumped from or how he received the injuries.

"We don't know if he's actually tried to jump from the falls - I'm not sure that's even possible," Ms Harvey said.

Department of Conservation's Dave Carlton had never heard of any previous incidents at the falls.

An hour earlier the helicopter had responded to help two males in Frasertown, Wairoa, who collided while riding dirt bikes on a farm track about 2pm.

A 13-year-old received a serious foot injury, while a 20-year-old's lower leg was damaged.

- Amy Shanks of the Hawke's Bay Today

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