A bulldozer driver injured when the machine rolled at Mataikona in Wairarapa yesterday probably owes his life to a bush cage.
The man, in his 50s, was part of a firewood-cutting crew who were felling and stacking manuka on a block off remote Pack Spur Rd about 11am, when the bulldozer plunged downhill. It rolled at least three times before coming to rest on its tracks about 200m down the hill.
The cab on the bulldozer kept driver inside and may have saved him from life-threatening injuries.
The Castlepoint Fire Party and a Life Flight rescue helicopter responded to a 111 call for help which had to be made from a house in the area as there was no cellphone or radio coverage. The site could only be reached by 4WD vehicles.
Anders Crofoot said the fire party found the man conscious and had been well cared for by his fellow workers. "We were very grateful for that because we didn't know whether he would have been trapped under the bulldozer and we had brought jacks and things out," he said.
The Life Flight Trust helicopter responded with a Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic. Crewman Dave Greenberg said it was lucky the driver did not get thrown out of the cab on the way down.
He had nevertheless suffered multiple injuries but none were life-threatening. His injuries are believed to include cuts to the head and rib injuries.
The bulldozer driver was taken to Wellington Hospital's emergency department for assessment and treatment.