A Ruawai dairy farmer overcame severe injuries received in a motocross accident to help save the life of a stranger six weeks later.
Luke Oud credits his life, and that of the man he helped rescue at Baylys Beach, to the Northland Rescue Helicopter which separately rushed to both men's aid.
The 35-year-old father of three is one of many Northlanders throwing their support behind the Northland Rescue Helicopter as the emergency service's annual appeal takes flight.
In December 2018, Oud was speeding along Te Kōpuru's Red Hill Motor Cross track at 70kmp/h when a jump took a sour turn.
"I had only ridden my dirt bike once in a year because I was so busy on the farm," he said.
Oud lifted off the notorious 'Ski Slope Hill' before a hard landing sent him flying from his out of control bike.
"I hurt my knee in the first race and wanted to catch up to my brother in the second. I remember starting my bike but don't remember anything of the race," Oud said.
Witnesses reported seeing the farmer's body cartwheel as he was flung from the dirt bike.
Fortunately for Oud two nurses happened to be at the track that day – one being his wife, Sunny.
The other was club medic Mandy. Their nursing experience kicked in as both women raced down the hill to where Oud had come to a stop.
When Sunny reached her husband he was unresponsive but still breathing.
She could see obvious injuries to his face but the full extent - which included C2 to C7 spinal fractures, a fractured left rib, broken arm, split in the ball that holds the thumb together, and a cut eye – was yet to be confirmed.
"I grabbed his wrist to move it on to his chest and his arm did not follow," Sunny said.
Emergency responders from the Te Kōpuru Volunteer Fire Brigade and local St John paramedics arrived on the scene.
The Northland Rescue Chopper was diverted to assist Oud as his potential spinal injuries meant an air transfer was the safest way to get him to Whangārei Hospital.
During this time Oud's level of consciousness had quickly plummeted from 15 to four – with three being the lowest and most dangerous level.
With the help of the in-flight paramedics, his level of consciousness improved drastically.
Oud was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit before being moved to the surgical unit and then transferred to Dargaville Hospital six days later.
He suffered a serious brain injury which saw him forced to rest for an hour or two after just 15 minutes of concentrating on a task.
"Sleep during the day is not something a farmer does. I was in a bad mental state. I just was not with it," he said.
"The brain injury was a massive one that I could not get over. It really broke me. I was going mental."
However, six weeks later Oud overcame the adversity of his injuries while out for a much-anticipated swim at Baylys Beach, near Dargaville, after a cast on his arm was finally removed.
He was barely in the water when he witnessed a man collapse in the surf while launching a boat.
"I ran to him and I thought this guy is dying."
Oud's first aid training kicked in and he immediately started CPR – a reaction he described as "incredible" given his extensive brain injury.
"I did the first minute of CPR and there was no sign of life, then 30 pumps later I felt his heart kick in again and he opened his eyes."
"Next thing the Northland Rescue Chopper picked him up," Oud said.
As a way to give back to the life-saving service and help save more lives, he urged farmers to donate to the appeal.
The annual appeal runs until December and people are able to donate via the Northland Rescue Helicopter's Givealittle page.