A teenager has been airlifted to hospital in a serious condition after falling up to 30 metres down a beachside cliff in east Auckland.
Despite the teenage boy being seriously hurt, the situation could have been worse as he appeared lucky not to tumble a further 20m down onto the beach below, Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter intensive care paramedic Marcel Driessen said.
The boy had come to rest on a small, precarious ledge, his fall apparently broken by a bush, he said.
First on the scene was a firefighter, who abseiled down and secured the teenager with a rope.
Yet the slippery, sandy cliff face meant no one else was able to reach the boy until Driessen winched down from the rescue helicopter.
"It became quickly evident it was quite unstable and exposed where they were," Driessen said.
"He was conscious, but he had sustained some pretty traumatic injuries as you can imagine falling and tumbling and then landing on the little ledge."
Driessen and the firefighter spent 15-20 minutes making sure the teen was secured before working out a way to winch him up without worsening his injuries.
Due to the slippery, exposed slope they even had to consider the downwash from the helicopter rotors and whether that would blow debris on them - or even push the patient off the ledge, Driessen said.
Despite that, they managed to get the teenager into a rescue vest, nicknamed a "super nappy" by the chopper crews, before winching him up safely.
"We were able to fly him to Auckland City Hospital where we took him into the emergency department in a serious but luckily fairly stable condition," Driessen said.
"It worked really well, it was a great team effort."