A nasty ride off a cliff resulted in serious injuries for a 20-year-old farm worker north of Taupō last Tuesday evening.
The man was riding his motorbike through a paddock on a farm near Atiamuri when he went over the 10m cliff. Unable to move, he lay at the bottom of the cliff for over two hours before being found by family.
Taupō's Greenlea rescue helicopter and other emergency services were called out to help and the man was treated at the scene by the helicopter's onboard intensive care paramedic before being transported to Waikato Hospital.
That callout was just the latest in what is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for the Greenlea rescue helicopter.
Last month the helicopter's missions were again up, with 52 callouts recorded in August, compared to August 2019, when it went to 29 missions.
In July the helicopter's missions numbered a massive 54 - nearly two a day and more than double the 24 callouts in July 2019.
In 2019 the helicopter completed 377 missions and although it is just over eight months into the year it is already sitting at 325 missions and if the pattern continues it will more than overtake last year's total.
That's despite a lower than usual number of missions during April and May due to the level 4 lockdown.
Callouts over the past fortnight have encompassed a range of medical events and accidents. The most unusual and difficult was an overturned bulldozer near the rural community of Te Haroto on the Napier-Taupō highway on Monday, September 7.
Due to the remote location, no other emergency services were able to respond to the scene. The rescue helicopter flew to near the scene and offloaded the intensive care paramedic, who made his way down the hill to where the bulldozer had come to rest. Inside, he found a 72-year-old man trapped in the cabin. He began to provide treatment to the man with the assistance of the pilot and crewman.
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Due to difficult access, the helicopter crewman used a double winch to extricate both the injured man and the paramedic from the bulldozer scene. They were flown to a nearby paddock where the patient was put on a stretcher and then transported to Rotorua Hospital.
Other callouts during the first two weeks of September included two serious motor vehicle accidents. The first was a serious crash at the main intersection of Pihanga Rd and SH1 in Tūrangi on September 1 where a 51-year-old man had been ejected from his vehicle after the collision. He was treated at the scene by the onboard intensive care paramedic before being transported to Rotorua Hospital.
The other was a motorbike crash on Western Bays Rd on Saturday, September 5, which left a man in his 60s in a serious condition with multiple fractures. He was treated at the scene before being flown to Rotorua Hospital.
Skiers and their mishaps again proved the source of several callouts during the fortnight. One skier was lucky to survive after sliding 500m off the side of the ski area at Tūroa Skifield on September 4.
The local ski patrol team were able to locate the patient and transported her down to the Tūroa Medical Centre. Despite falling a long way, the patient was very lucky to be only suffering from minor injuries.
Another skifield accident was a 7-year-old boy who had dislocated his hip while snowboarding at Whakapapa. The helicopter's intensive care paramedic and Whakapapa medical staff treated him at Iwikau Medical Centre before the boy and his dad were flown to Waikato Hospital for further assessment.
Other accidents during the month included a woman who had fallen on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and a man at Kaingaroa Village with a serious eye injury following a home accident who was taken to Waikato Hospital for specialist treatment.
Hospital transfers included a 45-year-old man suffering a heart attack who required immediate medical attention. He was airlifted from Rotorua Hospital to Waikato Hospital carefully overseen by the onboard intensive care paramedic. A 77-year-old man with cardiac issues was also flown to Waikato Hospital for specialised medical care and a 2-year-old boy with cardiac issues was taken from Taupō Hospital to Rotorua Hospital for further medical care.