New Zealand hikers film fall from collapsed bridge

By Tomas Monzon
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NORTH ISLAND, New Zealand, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Four French hikers captured video as they fell 28 feet into a river after a bridge collapsed in New Zealand's Te Urewera National Park.

The fall took place on Sept. 3 but the video was recently released.


The Hope Ruahine bridge, located on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk portion of the park, was rated for 10 people at one time.

Though none of the hikers were injured, Mike Slater, deputy director of general operations for the country's Department of Conservation, said manufacturing defects were to blame for the incident. Quench cracks and embrittlement took a toll on a section of high-tensile chain with a diameter of 24 millimeters and led to its sudden fracture.

Slater told the NZ Herald the bridge was inspected in September of 2014 and an engineer also analyzed the bridge 18 months ago. Slater said his department needs additional resources to carry out an inspection of all of the park's bridges, particularly after seven years of budget cuts.

The incident had a much better outcome than the deaths of 14 individuals at New Zealand's Cave Creek in April of 1995. Thirteen students and one Department of Conservation officer died when a poorly built viewing platform gave way. Slater said that incident spurred the department to install "a very comprehensive and robust asset management approach" to prevent such events.


The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk is one of nine administered by the Department of Conservation. The track takes three to four days to hike through and is popular with tourists.

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