A 66-year-old woman with a broken leg was winched aboard a rescue helicopter off a steep hillside inland from Gisborne.
She was walking on a property at midday on Saturday with four friends when she slipped and fell.
The ECT rescue helicopter was called in because of steep terrain.
The chopper hovered near the accident scene and St John paramedic Greg Fisher jumped off and made his way to the woman on foot.
"Once I had stabilised her, we put her on a stretcher and used a 50-metre cable to long-line her off the slope."
Chopper pilot Neil Dodds did an amazing job, he said.
"He was rock-solid the whole time."
Mr Dodds said it was a challenging recovery because of the steep terrain, with fences and rising ground all around. He had to put his head out the door of the helicopter to see what he was doing.
"I was actually flying the patient as well, not just the helicopter," he said.
The woman was flown to a flat area of ground nearby where a second St John Ambulance officer, Judy McKinley, was waiting.
The woman was transferred there to the interior of the chopper and taken to hospital.
Mr Fisher said the woman's companions did a good job looking after her until the rescue team arrived. The whole mission took about an hour.