Quick action by Whangarei firefighters prepping for a routine rope rescue training exercise helped rescue a man suspected to have fallen down a 50 metre cliff.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Whangarei-Kaipara Area Commander Brad Mosby said the two teams of eight firefighters were just about to start their training by the Paranui Falls carpark when one of the crew heard a noise and someone groaning.

A couple of firefighters went to investigate the noise and saw a man at the bottom of a cliff adjacent to the 24 metre Paranui waterfall.

Area Commander Mosby said the cliff, from the highest point, was about 50m but could not say where the man may have fallen from.

“Local knowledge of the tracks in the area meant the teams got to the man quickly. The call to get the Northland Emergency Services Trust rescue helicopter was made pretty early and the crews worked alongside St Johns ambulance staff to stabilise the patient and prepare him for the airlift.

“It was fortunate that our Fire and Emergency teams were there training because he could have lain undiscovered and critically injured for some time.”

Area Commander Mosby said the rescue was another great example of emergency services working closely together during a ‘challenging’ rescue. 

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