Kayaker fails to return from trip in upper Hokitika River

Wednesday 12 January 2011, 4:47PM
By New Zealand Police


A Search & Rescue operation was launched yesterday after a kayaker failed to return from a trip in the upper Hokitika River.

Police were advised of the incident late on the 10th after the overdue man's companion made it out of the hills.

He stated that Mr. Nicholas Thomas, 32 from Christchurch had fallen out of his kayak earlier in the day and injured himself preventing him from paddling certain sections of the river, and instead was attempting to walk out.

"The area they were in is extremely rugged and walking out is very difficult indeed".

After a reasonable amount of time was given for Mr. Thomas to make his own way out a helicopter was sent to search for him.

He was located in the Hokitika River after the rugged terrain prevented him from getting back, he had spent one night out.

"We are happy that the pair had extra equipment with them including extra food and basic overnight gear. Once he found himself in difficulty and unable to walk out he decided to stay put and wait for rescue".

Mr. Thomas was winched to safety by the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter and flown to Greymouth Hospital with suspected broken ribs.

Search & Rescue Teams from Hokitika were on standby to enter into the hills.