Man rescued after speed flying crash

A 22-year-old Christchurch man who crashed into a mountain while speed flying in Arthur's Pass National Park has been rescued.

The man had taken off from the Temple Basin skifield about 4.30pm yesterday, aiming to fly to the car park at the base of the mountain.

Speed flying is skiing with the aid of a fabric wing, which adds speed and lift.

Police said the man got into trouble when he was surprised by the sudden appearance of a cableway wire and power lines and crash-landed on the mountain.

He was reported missing just before 6pm.

A rescue helicopter with night-vision equipment saw the man about 8pm, lying under power lines.

At the time it was not known whether the man had fallen over, hit the power lines or possibly been electrocuted.

Police search and rescue coordinator Sergeant Ryan O'Rourke said due to the cableway and power lines the helicopter was not able to land at the scene.

"LandSAR volunteers from Arthur's Pass were brought into the area and set up a series of rope lines so they could safely descend to the man's location," Mr O'Rourke said.

"We then brought in a specialist LandSAR Alpine and Cliff Rescue team from Christchurch. They got to the patient at about 2.00am this morning and then began the process of helping him to safety.

"He was initially airlifted to Arthur's Pass, then flown to Greymouth Hospital by the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter.

"Fortunately he was not seriously injured. He is suffering from a suspected broken thumb and possible concussion."

Staff from Temple Basin Skifield, LandSAR Arthur's Pass, police, the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter, St John Ambulance and LandSAR Alpine and Cliff Rescue were involved in the search.

Mr O'Rourke said the incident highlights the need for skiers and mountain users to be careful in selecting locations for their activities.

 

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