Tauranga-based Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter Service has flown two patients to hospitals today, including a teenager who nearly drowned at Te Kaha.

Rescue Helicopter pilot Liam BrettKelly said this afternoon the rescue helicopter was called to Te Kaha Medical Centre to pick up a 17-year-old Taupo man.

The patient who had gotten into difficulties while swimming in the surf, was initially taken by ambulance to the medical centre as a result of a near drowning, he said.

Mr Brettkelly said the helicopter flew the patient to Whakatane Hospital for further treatment, due to him swallowing a significant amount of sea water.


"There is always the risk of secondary drowning," he said.

At 7.30am today the rescue helicopter was also dispatched to the Eastern Bay of Plenty settlement of Torere to pick up a 51-year-old local woman, who suffered a serious medical event.

The woman was flown to Waikato Hospital for specialist treatment, Mr Brettkelly said.