Rescuers say an Australian kayaker broke his own leg to avoid drowning after his craft flipped over and became jammed in a tree in a surging river.

Paramedic Anthony de Wit says the man was among a group of white water rafters on the West Kiewa River in the northeast Victoria state when his kayak became stuck in a fallen tree on Sunday.

Dewit says the 38-year-old man broke two bones in his lower leg wrenching himself free.

He spent Sunday night in the river gorge being cared for by colleagues, who included a doctor, and emergency workers who hiked into the area before he was flown by helicopter out of the area on Monday.

The man was still hospitalized on Monday.

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