A hunter who snapped his leg in remote countryside has thanked his rescuers from his hospital bed, adding that people just never know when they will need them.
Robert Franklin, 28, was tracking pigs on the back of a farm near Kawakawa Bay and running hard downhill when he leapt over slick ground and fell.
There was a "very loud crack" as he hit the ground.
When he looked down he could see his shin had bent in half with his ankle nearly touching his knee.
Bone was protruding through his skin.
He had snapped both his tibia and fibia.
"I knew I wasn't walking out," he said.
While he always carries a personal locator beacon, Franklin had enough phone reception to call his nearby mate to relay that he would need a helicopter.
Pumped full of adrenaline he also tried to straighten out the leg himself.
The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter attended three missions yesterday including airlifting Franklin out of the rugged rolling countryside.
Intensive care paramedic Karl Taylor said rain had made the steep ground underfoot slippery in parts.
"The conditions were challenging," Taylor said.
Franklin had "badly broken" his lower leg and the remoteness of the area called for the helicopter's nimble approach with a winch to airlift him out to Middlemore Hospital.
His leg had to be splinted and pain relief administered before the team could safely move him into the helicopter.
"Once we got him on to a stretcher the helicopter was able to come in and winch us out of that terrain."
Franklin, who works as a beekeeper, was full of praise for both Taylor and crew chief Mark Cannell, calling them "slick operators".
They were a "great sight for sore eyes" and made him as comfortable as possible, he said.
"I owe them all a cold beer when I get better."
He urged people to consider donating to the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter because they never knew when they or a family member would need the help.
Franklin also wanted to extend a huge thanks to all the "hard-working staff" at the hospital.
They had been "so efficient and focused" to make sure his surgery, performed through the night from 11pm to 1am, went well, he said.