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Waterfall hole rescue prompts warning

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/10/2016

A lone snowboarder who fell down a deep waterfall hole on a New Zealand mountain phoned for help.

The rescue on Tuesday has prompted a warning about the dangers of heading outside the boundary of ski areas alone in spring snow conditions.

Ruapehu Alpine Rescue says the teenager had a lucky escape after falling 7m down a waterfall hole, created by the melting of ice by flowing water.

"Super lucky not to be injured plus a bit of cell coverage to notify the police followed by some sharp eyes from the ski patrol to located him," the rescuers say.

The rescue also happened shortly before the central North Island mountain was wrapped in cloud, reducing visibility.

The rescued person was 15-year-old snowboarder from Christchurch who was riding alone off-piste on a remote part of the mountain, west of the top T-bar, Fairfax reports.

His rescue has prompted a warning about venturing in such terrain without the proper experience or equipment and without a buddy.

Ski patrol teams are focused on helping people within the ski area boundary and will only responded beyond the open terrain if they have the resources and only under the collaboration with police for search and rescue, Ruapehu Alpine Rescue says.

One former patroller posting on Facebook said there were few ski areas on the planet that equal Mt Ruapehu in terms of hidden dangers and ill prepared and inexperienced mountain users.

"There would have been significant risk involved in that rescue given the wet spring snow pack, running water and depth of that hole. Well done lads," the person said.

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