Condition of backpacker serious

THE 21-year-old German backpacker who broke his back in a rope swing accident at Upper Coopers Creek on Monday remains in a serious condition at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

Jacob Reiff was due to undergo surgery yesterday to stabilise hisinjuries, but it is understood heremains paralysed from the waist down and it is unlikely he will recover the use of his legs.

Mr Reiff had just arrived at the property, Jasper Hall, an organic farm near Repentance Creek, this week and was considering staying on as a woofer (a Willing Worker on Organic Farms) when he sustained the injuries about 4pm.

According to NSW Ambulance paramedics, Mr Reiff was catapulted chest-first off the swing on to rocks, fracturing his fifth and sixth vertebrae and severing his spinal cord in the accident.

The Police Rescue Squad took five hours to extract Mr Reiff from the isolated location due to the difficult conditions.

The founder of Jasper Hall, Andi Islinger, said he was devastated about the accident and the community was in shock.

“We are going to have a heart circle tonight and send some love out to Jacob,” he said.

Mr Islinger said the rope had been erected by a tree climber two years ago, but had been closed as it was too dangerous.

“I had asked him to take it down as I certainly couldn’t climb up there to do it,” he said.

“We put a sign up telling people not to use it.”

Jasper Hall is a popular destination for woofers and usually has about 15 visitors at a time.

“We run permaculture courses and mostly get students from overseas and woofers,” Mr Islinger said.



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