Tricky bush rescue for chopper crew

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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PICKUP: The Life Flight Westpac rescue helicopter hovers over bush during a winch rescue. PHOTO/FILE
PICKUP: The Life Flight Westpac rescue helicopter hovers over bush during a winch rescue. PHOTO/FILE

A Life Flight crew have airlifted a man to safety in a challenging bush rescue near Mt Holdsworth.

Crew on the Westpac rescue helicopter winched a Masterton man from between a narrow gap in the dense bush more than 45m below, after he injured his leg near Gentle Annie Creek yesterday morning.

Life Flight pilot Mike Beausoleil said although the man was near the start of the track, it was a challenging mission due to the number of trees in the area.

"It was about 3km from the trailhead but in an area of very dense bush and very tall trees in the bottom of a ravine. It was quite a difficult area to get to."

The man, who was in his 60s, had injured his leg, possibly tearing a ligament, after a mis-step on the track, and he and his tramping partner had set off their personal locator beacon, Mr Beausoleil said.

A paramedic was winched down to assess the man and then both were pulled up into the helicopter.

"There was a hole in the trees about the size of two people standing side by side and that's essentially what we pulled them through."

The man was in quite a bit of pain and was flown to the emergency department at Wairarapa Hospital, Mr Beausoleil said.

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