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Rod’s Wairarapa farm rescue

Rod lay crushed under his overturned quad bike on a remote, rugged farm.
Rod’s Wairarapa farm rescue

On a remote, rugged Wairarapa farm, Rod lay crushed under his overturned quad bike. His wife Patrizia went searching and found him unconscious with critical head and chest injuries. She raced home to call 111.

Thick cloud blanketed the region, but our Westpac Rescue Helicopter Pilot, Mike, managed to find a safe route through patches of visibility.

“We landed at the farmhouse but couldn’t fly closer to the patient due to atrocious weather. We were in a deep gully that blocked mobile or radio communications.”

Locals offered their quad bikes for a ground search. The Life Flight team loaded the bikes up with rescue and medical gear. This was rough terrain with sheer drops and minimal visibility. When found, Rod was in a bad way. Treatment was started immediately to help stabilise him.

It became essential to get the chopper closer as it would have taken four hours to carry Rod out. Pilot Mike worked with a local farmer to make it happen. Mike crept the chopper slowly through a maze of valleys and evaluated the safest route to the scene. The farmer provided valuable assistance by identifying key landmarks. They managed to land 200m from Rod.

It was a real team effort and everyone went the extra mile to save Rod. It was one of the most memorable rescues of my career,

recounts Life Flight Crewman, Julian

Rod has since made a remarkable recovery. He and Patrizia visited our Air Rescue Centre, bringing afternoon tea and a generous donation. Julian said, “It was so good to see Rod walk in unassisted. I didn’t recognise him. He looks great and it’s a fantastic result.”