Badly injured BMX biker cracked jokes during rescue

By Michael Botur

A badly injured BMX biker cracked jokes as 10 firefighters, ambulance and police rescued him from a Christchurch skate bowl up to five metres deep.

The hour-long rescue operation expanded to three fire appliances and the use of a fire truck's 30-metre turntable ladder because the bowl, at Washington Way Skate Park, has no steps.

The incident, at 8pm on Saturday, was blamed by the injured biker on rain which made the concrete slippery.

"He'd been riding round for a couple of hours, he went to drop in and he just went face first to the bottom, hit the side of his head and landed on his wrist," said witness Josh Stewart.

The shallowest part of the bowl - built for experienced skateboarders and BMX riders - is eight feet deep, Mr Stewart said. "If you're in it you're out of luck, there's not really much way of getting out, but they seemed to find a way of doing it with the cherry picker, which is good for future injuries."

The ladder truck had to be parked on a bridge, temporarily causing a partial road closure.

"Because of the nature of injuries we elected to use a turntable ladder and basket and winched him out," Senior Station Officer Stephen Butler of Christchurch Fire Station said. Mr Butler described the bowl as "like a deep swimming pool."

The injured man was "conscious and quite jovial," he said. "He's a BMX rider, you know what sort of character they are. I can't estimate his age but he wasn't young."

Mr Butler said his fire crew had specifically trained for this sort of rescue. He believed this was the second similar injury in the advanced section of Washington Way in six months.

"There's no design flaw - it's what the experienced guys have asked for."

The man was transported to Christchurch Hospital with Status 2 injuries including possible fractures to leg, hip and arm.

- APNZ

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