Trapped teen calls own ambulance

A 19-year-old who rolled his vehicle called for his own ambulance after laying trapped for two hours with spinal injuries. The teenager was found by emergency services in a Central Hawke's Bay paddock and later airlifted to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter about 8am on Saturday.

It's understood he had lost control of the Ford Courier ute he was driving and plunged down a bank and into a paddock at the side of the road.

The accident occurred far up Tukituki Rd near the Ruahine Range. It is believed the man had come from a dairy farm on which he had been working.

Constable Andy Walker of Waipukurau police said it was believed the man had been in the crashed vehicle for a couple of hours before he was found.

"He rang 111 but he was very confused and he wasn't sure of his location.

"He wasn't actually saying a hell of a lot, to be honest. He was pretty confused: He thought he'd been lying in the paddock all night."

The teen had been taking a left-hand bend when his vehicle slid off the right-hand side of the road and became airborne, going down a bank.

He clipped the top of a fence and rolled or flipped before the vehicle came to rest on its wheels in the paddock.

Mr Walker described it as a "violent sort of crash" but the ground where the vehicle had landed was swampy and soft.

Police were not yet sure why the man lost control of the vehicle.

Yesterday he was in a stable condition at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

"He was bloody lucky," Mr Walker said.

"The spot he was in was one of the only spots you can get cellphone coverage."

St John Ambulance Service Hawke's Bay district operations manager Stephen Smith said the call was received at 7am.

An ambulance from Waipukurau attended before the rescue helicopter arrived with a intensive-care paramedic aboard.

The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter conducted 292 flights last year and saved Hawke's Bay residents from quad bike accidents, tramping mishaps, road crashes and forestry/farming injuries.

Nearly 40 per cent of the flights were accident responses and 36 per cent inter-hospital transfers.

Medical emergencies comprised 11 per cent of flights last year and search-and-rescue flights 3 per cent.

Hawke's Bay Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Charlie Beetham said rescues that ended in a good outcome were the most memorable for him.

Airlifting hunters and trampers out of the Ruahine Range was always exciting and often had a great outcome, he said.

"First of all you've got to find them - sometimes that can prove quite difficult.

"You have to zero down on even the ones with beacons so there's always a bit of a search on - in some pretty rugged terrain and in some pretty adverse weather at times."

Responding to car accidents was traumatic, Mr Beetham said.

"Seeing a good outcome is pleasing in that we can get them to the point of care very quickly."

An ex-patient who was rescued after he rolled his quad bike in Titiokura came down to the hangar last week to express his thanks.

"It's really good to see those sorts of stories, because people really appreciate it and usually are really happy to see you.

"You are dealing with the situation at the time and when they come back you see the smile on their face and see that you made a difference - it's really good."

"Some people actually get quite emotional because it brings back a whole lot of memories for them and they realise, in some cases, how lucky they were.

"It's a very rewarding job."

Weather sometimes played its part in hampering rescues. Rescuing a man who had a stroke near the Tarawera pub on the Napier-Taupo road at dusk was only possible due to night-vision-goggles.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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