Man in serious condition after avalanche near Queenstown pushes him 200m down cliff

A man has been seriously injured after being caught up in an avalanche near Queenstown today.

Search and rescue head Julian Cahill has told 1 NEWS that two local men had been splitboarding in the Ben Lomond area when an avalanche occurred.

The slip pushed one of the men 200m down a cliff.

He says by the time Search and Rescue arrived, his friend had already located him and dug him out of the snow.

The man has been taken by helicopter to Queenstown Lakes District Hospital with serious injuries.

Heliworks Pilot Kurt Scierning has told 1 NEWS that it took two helicopters flying for the Lakes District Rescue Trust to manage the "tricky but manageable" rescue in treacherous terrain.

He says the first helicopter ferried patrollers from a local ski-field to help the injured man on the ground. The chopper he was flying dropped gear, so that the badly injured man could be winched to safety.

He says the man was talking in the chopper even though he had sustained serious injuries.

He described the avalanche as very long, up to 500m, but shallow, "He's very lucky to be alive at the moment. He let go at the top and went with the avalanche".

Helicopter on rescue mission after avalanche in Ben Lomond area.
Helicopter on rescue mission after avalanche in Ben Lomond area. Source: 1 NEWS