Trapped in her car and unable to feel her legs, Ashleigh Taylor-Wyatt, from Pukekohe, thought the worst.
But after a dramatic rescue from the mangled wreckage of her vehicle she has had the chance to meet those responsible for saving her life.
In May, the 19-year-old was driving to work when her car slid out at a dangerous corner where morning dew had formed a wet slick.
She slid into an oncoming car and had to be cut free by the Fire Service and airlifted to Middlemore Hospital by the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Serious pelvic injuries left her with no feeling in parts of her legs.
She had a cracked vertebrae in her spine, three fractures on her sacrum and her pelvis was broken in several places.
During her nine-day stay in hospital she had three operations to install pins in her bones and was unable to bear weight on her leg for six weeks.
She had to inject herself in the stomach each day to stop blood clots forming.
"It could have been a lot worse. I could have ended up paralysed," she said.
Beyond her physical rehabilitation, she wanted to meet her rescuers and thank them for their part in saving her.
"After my accident, I felt really strongly that I wanted to visit the crew and talk to them about what had happened, so it was lovely meeting them and was therapeutic for me on so many levels."
She said it was an emotional reunion and encouraged other accident victims to attend the upcoming Rescue Reunion on October 18.
Anyone who has been rescued by the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter is invited to attend the reunion at its Mechanics Bay base.
"I think having a day for patients to come together and meet the team is a wonderful idea," Ms Taylor-Wyatt said.
Aside from meeting the crews that saved them, former patients and their friends and families will also be able to watch crew talks and demonstrations, see a winch display, take a helicopter simulator ride and enjoy a light lunch.
Communications adviser Kerrie Spicer said being rescued by helicopter "is not something that happens every day in someone's life - it's a big deal".
"We hope that bringing our patients together with our crew will make for a really fun, feelgood day for all involved."
Former patients who have been rescued are invited to register by October 11 at rescuehelicopter.org.nz