New Zealand hiker walks two days with broken ankle

April 1st, 2009 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, April 1 (DPA) A seriously injured hiker spent two days dragging himself three kilometres down a New Zealand glacier with a suspected broken ankle and wrist after falling down a cliff in the Southern Alps, news reports said Wednesday.
Matthews Briggs, 33, had lain injured for a week hoping that friends would raise the alarm and searchers would find him. But he eventually set off for a mountaineers’ hut, thinking: “If I don’t get out of here, I’m going to die here”, the Dominion Post reported.

In the isolated hut, Briggs found two hunters, who then walked for 13 hours to raise the alarm, and a rescue helicopter lifted him to hospital Tuesday.

One of the hunters, Barry Sharplin, 21, said that Briggs told them he had hobbled, crawled and slid his way to the hut, rationing the food he had and stopping at night to bathe his wounds in a mixture of salt and water.

In addition to his suspected fractures, Briggs had bone-deep cuts to his leg, back and buttocks, but Stu Drake, a paramedic on the helicopter, said: “He refused pain relief. We carry morphine, but he was just happy to get out of there. He was an extremely capable and tough sort of character.”

English-born Briggs, an experienced hiker, was reprimanded by police for breaking a cardinal rule of the mountains - not telling people exactly where he was going.

Police said they wasted hours searching for his vehicle and then him, after Briggs was reported overdue from a planned weekend away with his dog.

He reportedly was carrying a locator beacon but lost it when he fell down a five-metre cliff March 20.

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