A New Zealand ski patroller was swept in an avalanche 150 meters (500 feet) down a mountain Thursday as he cleared loose snow with explosives.
The 32-year-old man, French national Franck Grabias, was flown to a hospital with moderate injuries to his pelvis and face after being dug out of deep snow, Westpac rescue helicopter General Manager Simon Duncan said.
"He tried to ski in it (the avalanche) ... If you want to survive, you try and keep in front of it," Duncan told National Radio.
The team of three patrollers was clearing loose snow on ridges around Mount Olympus in central South Island with explosives when the avalanche was triggered.
The ski patrollers were experienced and wearing transponders, Duncan said.
Avalanche patrol members dug the buried man out and a rescue helicopter airlifted him to hospital.
At Christchurch Hospital, Grabias was diagnosed as suffering from a broken pelvis, punctured bladder, broken cheekbone, facial cuts and a possible broken leg, local media reported.