UPDATE: A Burwood teen who fell over a cliff at Stanwell Tops yesterday was leaning on a tree branch that gave way before he plunged 40 metres, police say.
The boy, 17, was with a school group at The Tops Conference Centre at Stanwell Tops when he leant on the branch, causing it to break.
Police have been told the boy then lost his balance and fell over the edge and approximately 40 metres to the ground.
The youth, from Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College in Burwood, was conscious and responsive when police rescue officers arrived on the scene.
He was transported to St George Hospital in a critical condition and placed in an induced coma.
Paramedics received a triple-0 call notifying them of the incident about 2.50pm.
Abseiling instructors attached to The Tops Conference Centre were the first to reach the student, before special operations team paramedics arrived.
Dense bushland hampered the rescue, and a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said the youth could not be seen until centre instructors abseiled down the cliff.
Wollongong police acting inspector Dan Richardson said the student had suffered head injuries, a fractured arm and had possible breathing difficulties when emergency services first arrived on the scene.
Initial reports suggested the cliff was 75-100 metres high.
The ambulance helicopter was used to winch the youth to safety and fly him to hospital.
The Tops Conference Centre’s website describes the venue as a ‘‘God honouring Christian venue’’ offering conferencing facilities, camping, ministry experiences and instructor-led activities like abseiling and high ropes courses.
A security guard was posted outside the centre while the emergency response was carried out.