2 Apr 2009

DoC worker poisoned by cyanide out of hospital

5:08 pm on 2 April 2009

A Department of Conservation worker who told emergency services he had ingested cyanide has been discharged from hospital.

The possum hunter was rescued from Whirinaki Forest Park, 90km south-east of Rotorua, early on Thursday after radioing for help.

A search and rescue operation was launched in the central North Island park and the man was found shortly after midnight.

Police say he was so ill he was unable to walk when rescuers found him.

The man was airlifted from the bush and taken to Rotorua Hospital by ambulance and was discharged on Thursday afternoon.

Detective Sergeant John Wilson says cyanide paste is usually lethal and the man is lucky to be alive. He says it is not yet known how the hunter came to ingest the paste.

Department of Conservation spokesperson Mark Davies says it is a mystery how the man could have consumed cyanide and the department will start an investigation once it has spoken to the hunter.