The skipper of a fishing boat who suffered serious pelvic injuries while at sea off Northland was flown to Whangarei Hospital after being winched aboard a helicopter in a dramatic rescue.

About 4pm on Saturday, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand alerted the North land Rescue Helicopter about an injured man on the fishing vessel Tirere just off North Cape, northeast of Kaitaia.

Northland Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Pete Turnbull said an aircraft had just returned from another medical emergency when it was refuelled and equipped for the hour-long trip to North Cape.

Advanced paramedic Andrew Ferguson and St John intensive care paramedic Mark Going were among four on board the helicopter.


Mr Turnbull said the weather was fine and the swell not too big when they arrived at the 21-metre, 50-tonne fishing vessel. Mr Ferguson was winched down with a special stretcher to assess the patient and after about 25 minutes, the injured skipper was winched up.

The helicopter arrived at Whangarei Hospital at 6.40pm.

Mr Going said the skipper, a Northlander, injured himself in mid afternoon but how it happened was not clear.

He said the man and two others headed out for crayfish but had to turn around and go towards Houhora when the skipper was hurt.

The injured man's condition was not available at edition time yesterday.

This year is the busiest on record for the Northland Rescue Helicopter teams who have responded to 466 requests for help to date, up from 404 for the same period last year.

During a week-long period in early August there were 32 flights, 10 of which were at night, plus two missions that started in the day and ended at night.