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Hikers plunge 28 feet in bridge collapse

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New Zealand is known as a land of adventure, but four French hikers got more excitement than they might have wanted on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk in the country’s Te Urewera National Park.

As a dramatic, recently released video shows, when a cable on the Hopuruahine Suspension Bridge along the track gave way, the hiking party was sent plunging 28 feet into a river below.

None of the hikers were seriously injured.

The fall, which occurred on September 3, is being blamed on a manufacturing defect.

The bridge spans approximately 215 feet across the river and is rated for 10 people at one time.

Laboratory analysis revealed manufacturing defects (known as quench cracks and embrittlement) in a section of 24-millimeter-diameter high-tensile chain used on the bridge, according to a press statement by Mike Slater with the Department of Conservation.

Slater said checks haven’t revealed any sections of the same batch of chain being used in the DOC’s other suspension bridges around the country.

“This is good luck, not good management. Our reputation cannot rely on luck,” Slater told the NZ Herald. “The cable failure is not only extremely concerning, it leaves New Zealand vulnerable to harmful tourism reaction. This must be sorted immediately.”

New cable strops will be installed on the bridge in coming weeks.

The bridge will be recommissioned after being tested.

Located on the country’s North Island, Te Urewera National Park is known for its rugged mountains, lakes, forests and secluded hiking trails.