Almost a year to the day after a Mount Maunganui man scaled down the side of a Nepalese cliff to rescue those caught in a plane crash, he received one of New Zealand's top awards for bravery.

Andrew Roy was one of 10 New Zealanders to be awarded the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal, presented by the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House on Tuesday.

The Air Dynasty medical team made up of high-altitude rescue pilot Andrew Gutsell, emergency nurse Alyssa Lowe, and rescue paramedic Roy worked for 17 hours to save those involved in a cargo plane crash near Mt Everest on May 27, 2017.

Roy scaled down the side of a cliff to reach the mangled fuselage followed by Lowe, who was carrying a large bag full of medical equipment and a portable stretcher.


At one point the 25-year-old even dragged an unconscious and critically injured co-pilot from the cockpit of the plane.

Roy and Gutsell, who were inside the plane, had to convince the 400 or so local civilians who had rushed to help to stop hacking at the exposed metal in an attempt to free those inside, as it was causing heavy sparking and risked tipping the plane from its wedged position on the cliffside.

Gutsell had to extinguish a fire in the cockpit after leaking hydraulic lines caught alight.

While the co-pilot could not be saved, the team provided continuous attendance, treatment, and pain management for a critically injured flight attendant, until the weather cleared enough to allow her evacuation to the hospital the next morning.

Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times from Auckland, Roy said it was a "humbling" experience to receive the honour.

His whole family attended the ceremony in Wellington along with Reuben Merrett, a local St John paramedic.

"It was a very formal occasion, it's not very often I have to wear a suit," Roy said.

Roy, who is now living in Auckland, said he had the opportunity to speak to the other recipients who all had "pretty decent stories to share".

The Royal Humane Society said the flight attendant at the scene would not have survived without the care of the rescuers.

The team "potentially saved dozens more lives" by controlling the crash scene, providing crowd control, and mitigating hazards to prevent a catastrophic post-crash fire and ensuing explosion, the society said.

"The courage and bravery shown by these three individuals is remarkable."

Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal recipients