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Woman falls 20 metres down waterfall

Rescuers stabilise the woman before continuing to carry her to safety. Picture: Tim Hunter

Ashleigh GleesonThe Daily Telegraph

THE boyfriend of a woman who plunged 20 metres down a waterfall in the NSW Blue Mountains has spoken of the desperate moment he tried to pull her body out of the water.

Cheng Shi Min, known as “Angel”, 21, was hiking along the Valley of Waters, near Wentworth Falls, when she slipped, about 1.30pm Tuesday.

She remains in a critical condition after a major rescue operation continues to get her out of the harsh terrain.

A chopper sent to winch the hiker to safety was grounded by high winds in the area. Picture: Tim Hunter

A chopper sent to winch the hiker to safety was grounded by high winds in the area. Picture: Tim HunterSource:News Corp Australia

Empress Falls is close to Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains.

Empress Falls is close to Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains.Source:News Corp Australia

Strong winds made it too challenging for a rescue helicopter to get her from the scene, so a rescue team spent hours to stabilise her then carry her out on foot.

Her boyfriend, Harry Yendle, said they’d been bushwalking with Angel’s father and another family friend when she slipped suddenly feet first down Empress Falls.

He ran down to see her lying face down in a shallow pool of water.

“I ran down and yelled for them to call an ambulance, before jumping in the water, I just wanted to get her head out of the water,” Mr Yendle said.

“I couldn’t pull her onto the ledge, so her dad and a German couple helped to get her out.

“She was murmuring and really out of it, she was unconscious the entire time.”

Mr Yendle said they’d been dating for two months and Angel, who is from Singapore, was studying to be teacher.

Cheng Shi Min fell 20 metres down a waterfall while walking with her family at Empress Falls in the Blue Mountains / Supplied

Cheng Shi Min fell 20 metres down a waterfall while walking with her family at Empress Falls in the Blue Mountains / SuppliedSource:Supplied

Defence Force pilot Major Matthew Donovan was killed at Empress Falls in 2005.

Defence Force pilot Major Matthew Donovan was killed at Empress Falls in 2005.Source:News Corp Australia

Police divers and rescue squad officers during the search for Major Donovan’s body.

Police divers and rescue squad officers during the search for Major Donovan’s body.Source:News Corp Australia

Springwood Inspector Peter Balatincz said she was in a “fairly bad way” and in a critical condition as they were still transporting her at 7pm.

It took more than two hours to carry her on foot from the scene in “the freezing conditions”.

A number of people have died while walking or canyoning in the area.

In 2008 a woman died after slipping from the Valley of Waters track. A chopper and specialist rescue team rushed to assist the hiker but she died at the scene and her body recovered from the bottom of Empress Falls.

A decorated Australian Defence Force pilot was killed at the falls in January 2005 while helping friends who were trapped in rising flood waters.

Matthew Donovan, 31, and his brother James, a policeman from Melbourne, were with a group of friends canyoning in the valley when they became trapped by the floodwaters.

Donovan jumped in the water to assist his brother and friends but was washed away and killed.

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