Aussie tourist falls into burning sinkhole in New Zealand

A Perth woman has been hospitalised after she fell into a hot water sinkhole while in New Zealand on Thursday.

At around 2.15pm on Thursday, Rotorua Lakes Council was notified of an incident at Whakarewarewa Village regarding a sinkhole.

The elderly Australian woman was standing on the footpath where the sinkhole opened up and was seriously injured. She was taken to Waikato Hospital.

Pictured is the sink hole in Rotorua, with steam coming out and the paving caved in.
An Australian woman fell into a sinkhole in Rotorua, New Zealand. Source: Aukaha News

A spokesperson for St Johns told 9News one person was taken to hospital in a critical condition while a second person, believed to be the woman's husband, was treated for moderate injuries after he tried to rescue her.

"First and foremost our thoughts are with the couple involved in the incident and Rotorua Lakes Council will provide any support or assistance we can," Rotorua Lakes Council said in a statement.

A man who was housesitting in the village spoke to Aukaha News and said he had heard the commotion.

"I could hear quite a bit of crying going on," he said, adding the incident was "very concerning".

Footage from the scene following the incident shows steam coming out of the sinkhole.

Tourist village closed off after incident

Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity and Whakarewarewa Village offers a geothermal walking trail experience.

On its website, the village – which is known as the living Maori village – said it was closed temporarily.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances the Whakarewarewa Village is temporarily closed," a pop-up on the website signed by the General Manager, Mike Gibbons, says.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask that you please contact our reservation team should you wish to rebook your visit or receive a full refund."

Pictured is the sink hole in Rotorua, with steam coming out and the paving caved in.
Whakarewarewa Village has closed following the incident and safety precautions are in place. Source: Aukaha News

The council sent out a crew immediately after being informed of the incident to inspect the site and ensure it is safe.

The area around the hole has been cordoned off and the road is closed, the council said in a statement.

"Work to fix the road will start as soon as possible and other roads in the village will be checked as a precaution," the statement said.

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