A teenager who fell about 7m down a rock face on Hen and Chicken Islands in Northland has been saved from horrific injuries because of his backpack.

The crew on the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter believe it cushioned his fall but the teenager still suffered moderate injuries around 3pm.

Due to rocky terrain on the island, the attending Westpac 2 helicopter couldn't land near the male patient to treat him.

Intensive care paramedic Rob Gemmell and helicopter emergency medical service doctor Heidi Baker were winched to him, then the helicopter landed on a neighbouring island.


As the crew members treated him, the helicopter was forced to fly back to Whangārei to refuel before returning to the scene.

On its return, the teenager was winched on a stretcher from the island and flown to Whangārei Hospital with multiple injuries, including his to spine.