Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

First aid course pays off in Takapuna Beach fall rescue

Charlie McNaughton
Charlie McNaughton

A 24-year-old man who rushed to the aid of a woman who had fallen three metres and split her head open on rocks credits a two-day first aid course for knowing what to do.

The Herald reported yesterday that Lynne Marshall has made a "remarkable recovery" after falling at Takapuna Beach on Auckland's North Shore on February 8 - in part due to the help of strangers.

Charlie McNaughton and his flatmates were walking on the beach when they heard Ms Marshall's 8-year-old daughter scream.

"I thought the girl had fallen off the ledge so I ran over but then saw a woman lying on her back on the rocks," he said.

"It looked like someone had knocked a hole in the back of her head.

"There was bright red blood on the rocks and grazes all over her. She was slipping in and out of consciousness and didn't even seem to recognise her own daughters."

Mr McNaughton pulled his T-shirt off and held it at the back of Ms Marshall's head to stop air getting to her wound.

He also instructed someone to call an ambulance, got his flatmates to find the nearest street so they had an address, and to sit with Ms Marshall's youngest daughter, Mollie.

"I did a two-day first aid course through work about two years ago so I felt like I just knew what to do.

"I checked she was breathing and then held my T-shirt to the back of her head. I didn't want to apply too much pressure because the area was really sensitive but I tried to stop air getting to the wound."

Mr McNaughton and his flatmate moved Ms Marshall only slightly, as they were worried she might have injured her neck or back.

"It looked really serious. We were really worried."

Lynne Marshall
Lynne Marshall

St John arrived about 15 minutes after the fall and Mr McNaughton, his flatmate and two other strangers helped paramedics lift Ms Marshall on to a ledge.

Ms Marshall had suffered two brain haemorrhages and a skull fracture. She was taken to Auckland Hospital where she stayed for a week.

She also spent a week at a brain injury rehabilitation centre in West Auckland.

"We've been thinking about [Ms Marshall] and her daughters ever since, and hoping that she was okay," Mr McNaughton said.

"We were so relieved when we read in the Herald today that she was okay."

Ms Marshall told the Herald yesterday she had a "complete blank" around what happened.

"I was pretty grateful for the life I had prior to this, and I'm more grateful now.

"I want to thank that man, and everyone else who helped; I might not be here if it wasn't for you."

- NZ Herald

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