( dpa )- A 23-year-old Italian mountaineer was rescued by helicopter after being hit by a falling rock while climbing in New Zealand's Aoraki -Mount Cook National Park on Wednesday, news reports said.
A Department of Conservation official said the man and two companions had been warned the day before not to climb in a dangerous part of the Southern Alps called The Footstool because the route was in poor condition.
"The east face Footstool is very poor rock and as far as I'm aware it's only ever climbed when it's got snow and ice on it," the official told Radio New Zealand.
That is not the case at the moment with New Zealand in high summer.
The Footstool rises to a peak of 2,765 metres on the main divide of the Southern Alps.
The climber was taken to Timaru Hospital for surgery after the falling rock amputated part of his hand, news reports said.