A suspension bridge cable on the Lake Waikeremoana track failed on Thursday, dropping four German tourists more than eight metres into the Hopu Ruahine River. The tourists suffered scratches and bruises but are being well looked after, says Herb Christophers from the Department of Conservation. The failed bridge is at the top left of the picture.
The water under the 65-metre span suspension bridge is two metres deep, and while the popular track remains open, walkers will have to find an alternative crossing of the river, says Herb. “It just means people have to cross the river elsewhere instead of going across the bridge,” he explains. It will be a bit of an inconvenience. “How long is the bridge going to be closed? I can’t tell you because they haven’t yet made the inspection of the bridge to assess what is wrong with it.”
The DOC’s head office is expected to know by Friday evening what the extent of the damage is and develop a plan to put the bridge back in operation. The Hopu Ruahine bridge has a metal frame at one end and a wooden truss at the other. One of the cables failed at around 1pm yesterday.