Kayaker lucky to be alive after horror falls incident

A kayaker's life was saved thanks to CPR administered by the riverside after he was knocked out in a horror incident on the Tauranga-Taupo River.

The man, 25, was successfully revived by his friend, who no doubt saved his life, police said.

The kayaker had paddled over the 25m-high Tauranga-Taupo Falls and landed badly, getting knocked out and being submerged in the water.

"His kayaking partner, who was at the bottom looking out for him, immediately pulled him out and performed CPR on the riverside, successfully reviving him and saving his life," Senior Constable Barry Shepherd.

Rescuers say the incident, which happened on Monday afternoon, escalated quickly.

"It started off as a benign someone stuck in a river and transpired into someone having a near drowning experience and had CPR performed on them and are extremely lucky to be alive", rescue helicopter pilot Matt Every told Newshub.

The pair, who were experienced kayakers, continued paddling downstream but missed an exit point and could not turn back.

"With the onset of darkness, the two stopped and lit a fire for warmth," said Snr Const Shepherd.

"The uninjured kayaker then walked approximately 5km down a forestry road until he found cellphone reception."

Just before midnight he was able to call police and ambulance.

"Wet, cold, disoriented, injured and coughing blood, the injured kayaker had to wait on his own with no knowledge of when a rescue might come."

Mr Every said it was initially hoped the man could walk out, but they discovered he was too badly injured.

"We got another call from the ground saying there was concern there were some ribs broken while having CPR performed on him, so at that point we thought shivers the situation is changing quite rapidly here so it might be better for this guy if we perform this hoist after all and get him out of there as quickly as possible," Mr Every said.

The kayaker who called for help was found about 2am on Tuesday when his headlamp was spotted by the helicopter.

The injured kayaker was found an hour later. A fire that had been lit was clearly visible from above and the ground teams were able to reach him.

The injured man will be transported to Rotorua Hospital on Tuesday morning.

Snr Const Shepherd said a personal locator beacon could've saved the two several hours of distress.

"Luckily these two were so fortunate on this occasion, and they had the right knowledge and just enough emergency gear on them to make it out alive."