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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

February 17, 2007

Statement on behalf of Gregoire Body, 34, of New Caledonia

Speaking from Grey Base Hospital Mr Body today wanted to thank the two guides in Franz Josef Glacier who helped him immediately after he was caught in an ice cave collapse.

Mr Body said he had been standing beside an ice cave taking photos when the roof of the cave collapsed "smashing him".

"The impact was like an explosion, the sound was huge. Everything went white, for a moment I thought I was trapped under the ice. It was like being in a washing machine - there was ice and water and rocks."

Mr Body said he was around one of a dozen people who had been taking photos of the ice cave.

"Another 30 seconds and it would have been someone else."

He had seen the barriers but with what looked like hundreds of people on the glacier he thought it would be OK.

"I am responsible for myself."

He said the signs recommended to stay away, rather than being absolute instructions to keep away.

"It should be strictly no access past the barrier."

He said never having seen a glacier before he had no idea they could be so dangerous.

After just a few seconds being smashed by the ice and rocks, everything again became calm and he was able to see daylight.

He then checked to see what injuries he had, only realising how badly his left knee was injured when he tried to stand.

"I saw a hole in my pants and blood and when I tried to stand it didn't work."

He said two guides and his wife Jennifer came to his aid almost immediately and helped him to the safety zone, where he realised another man had also been hurt.

He was then flown by helicopter to Franz Josef where he was given medical attention by nursing staff before being flown to Greymouth.

He has subsequently had surgery on his left knee to repair a damaged kneecap and expects to be in hospital for the next two or three days.

The accident occurred 10 days into a three-week tour of New Zealand.

He had been travelling with his wife and son.

He wanted to thank everyone who had helped him.

He is expected to recover fully from his injuries.

For more information please contact
Vikki Carter
Community Liaison Officer
03 768 0499, Extn. 2665
027 245 9595

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