Search and rescue teams have rescued a 22-year old Christchurch man who crashed into a mountain while speed flying near Temple Basin skifield yesterday [Sunday 1 July].
The man took off from the skifield about 4.30pm, attempting to fly to the car park at the base of the mountain.
However he was surprised at the sudden appearance of a cableway wire and power lines and crash-landed on the mountain. He was reported overdue to Police just before 6.00pm
Police sent a rescue helicopter equipped with night-vision equipment into the area, and the man was located at about 8.00pm last night.
Police search and rescue coordinator Sergeant Ryan O'Rourke says that due to the presence of the cableway and power lines, it was not possible for the helicopter to recover the skiier.
"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," he says.
"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."
Sergeant O'Rourke says the incident highlights the need for skiiers and mountain users to be extremely careful in selecting locations for their activities.
The incident involved a number of different agencies including staff from Temple Basin Skifield, LandSAR Arthur's Pass, Police, the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter, The Order of St John and LandSAR Alpine and Cliff Rescue.
Note: speed flying is described as a hybrid sport that combines elements of paragliding, parachuting, and skiing.