18 Mar 2013

Climber did not expect to survive crevasse fall

6:15 pm on 18 March 2013

A German climber who was seriously injured when she fell into a crevasse on the Fox Glacier says she did not expect to survive.

34-year-old Sabine Hellebrandt spent 18 hours at the bottom of the crevasse with a shattered arm and broken leg, after falling on the afternoon of Thursday 7 March.

A break in the weather the following morning allowed rescuers to free her and fly her out.

Speaking from Christchurch Hospital, she told Radio New Zealand the ice screws on her crampons could not get a secure grip, as the footing had turned from ice into hard snow.

Until just minutes before she fell, Ms Hellebrandt had been roped to her climbing partner, who raised the alarm.