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Tourist recounts the moment Cape Kidnappers cliff collapsed, forcing him to run for the sea

Son Jungho is on the mend after a great escape.

"It's really lucky that I got a broken bone, not my joint or nerve or neck," Mr Son told 1 NEWS from his hospital bed at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

"Lucky" is an understatement as 29-year-old Son and a friend were under a cliff when it collapsed on the walk along Cape Kidnappers to the famous gannet colony nearly two weeks ago.

He heard the rumbling and looked up to see the cliff starting to cave.

"I thought, 'Oh sh**, it's really collapsing,'" he said.

The pair ran for the water as rocks fell around them.

"I literally thought I couldn't make it because I was (being hit) by rocks I kept (being hit) by rock. I thought oh, I couldn't make it."

The pair managed to get into the sea and, with broken limbs, they managed to swim to shore where they were helped by others.

"We were really lucky that we had people around us at the time. I'm a tourist, a visitor, so maybe there is no way to say thank you, so I want to say thank you."

Experts have been brought in to assess the coastline above Cape Kidnappers. Source: 1 NEWS

Although he's had five operations to fix a tibia that was broken in three places, he could make a full recovery.

"If his bones heal, he will have a functioning limb, but won't be able to do as much sporting activities, perhaps," Mr Son's surgeon, James Blackett, told 1 NEWS.

Sixty-three-thousand cubic metres of rock is now blocking the beach.

The full assessment of the dangers of the area is still being carried out by geologists, and the Hastings District Council says it will only make a decision on re-opening access to the popular walk once it's been completed.

"There's not much we can do in terms of engineering to try and prevent them happening - we've just got to try and live with them," GNS Science's Sally Dellow, who has been studying the slip, told 1 NEWS today.

At the height of the summer tourist season, the beach is closed, meaning the popular tractor tours along the Cape to the gannet colony is unable to operate.

If the beach is re-opened, Hawke's Bay Tourism would like to see more warning signs.

Mr Son's friend is recovering well from leg and pelvic fractures.

Once recovered, the pair will head home with a scary story of their miraculous survival.

Son Jungho talked with 1 NEWS reporter Sean Hogan. Source: 1 NEWS