Pinned under a heap of metal and gears, a Northland farmer and his family feared the worst before their hopes were lifted by the sound of helicopter blades drumming in the air.

William (Bill) Blundell was preparing to move house and had bundled a couple of things on the back of his quad bike when he lost control on a hill in Mangawhai on August 30.

"I can remember starting to go over and that was it," Blundell said.

He has no recollection of being pinned under the bike.


"I don't know how long I was there for."

Two women stumbled across the accident and were able to push the bike off Blundell and seek help.

Blankets were brought to the scene to deal with the blood and cover Blundell up - a horrifying sight when seen from afar.

"When my brother went down the hill, he thought the worst," Blundell said.

Blundell's wife Jill was another who feared he had died.

"I just had to walk away from it. I couldn't cope with it," she told the Herald.

Blundell himself knew it was serious when he heard the blades of the helicopter overhead.

"I was a bit confused ... there were several people standing around me.


"I heard the helicopter come, they bundled me up, put me on a stretcher and carried me down the road."

Blundell was left with six broken ribs, a broken collar bone, a broken elbow and large grazes.

The injuries still trouble him today.

Blundell had owned the sheep and beef property for just over four years, and had never had any trouble driving around before.

"I'd driven up and down that hill so many times before, sometimes with stuff on the back on as well."

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter advanced paramedic Chris Deacon told the Herald the area where the accident unfolded was quite steep land.

"We were expecting some serious injuries and Bill lived up to expectations."

Blundell said he considered himself lucky and called the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter team "marvellous".

He met up with the team to thank them for everything they had done on Thursday, three months since the accident.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter has responded to four quad bike accidents so far this year, at Cooks Beach, Rawhiti, Mangawhai, and South Head.

Last year the service responded to five quad bike accidents.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter has attended 29 farm-related missions this year up to November 19, including one tractor roll.

There have been double the amount of motorcross injuries this year compared to the year prior.

Those 2018 motorcross accidents occurred in South Head, Maramarua, Kaipara Flats, Tuakau, Woodhill, Warkworth, Miranda and Riverhead.

Figures released to the Herald by ACC show there were more than 2000 quad bike related injuries in 2016.

It was the same for each of the four years prior.

According to ACC, the active cost of quad bike claims in 2016 was $14,281,688.

However there can be considerable variability in the detail given by claimants, and for this reason, the data cannot be presented as definitive.

WorkSafe statistics record that up to October 10 this year there have been two fatalities related to quad bike use in the workplace.

• If you would like to donate to the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter call 0800 4 RESCUE (0800 4 737283) or visit