Man spends night at top of steep West Coast ledge before being winched to safety

A tourist spent the night stuck on a steep flume on the West Coast, after crawling for three hours with broken bones before being winched to safety.

The man believed to be in his 30s had stopped at the Reid Falls at the Otira Gorge on Arthurs Pass to take photos, Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust chief executive Christine Prince says.

She says the man parked up his car and decided to go for a walk. He fell 50 metres down a track suffering broken bones, cuts and many lacerations to his body.

He could not walk and then crawled for three hours coming to the top of the flume. 

"He was completely stuck up there," Ms Prince says.

He stayed there overnight on Sunday and it was not until people stopped the next morning to take photos they heard the man shouting for help.

When air rescuers arrived, Police and Fire were already at the scene with specialist line crews. 

Originally a winch was not used because of fears the man may be blown down the flume by the rotor wash.

Fortunately a member of the public who was travelling through at the time who was a canyoner and had all his equipment was able to winch the man down to safety and then into the helicopter where he was flown to Christchurch Hospital.

Ms Prince says "He is very lucky that someone saw him".

"It's and incredible survival story." 

The rescue was a testament to the incredible work that rescuers did, she says.