‘Lucky’ farmer badly hurt
A40-YEAR-OLD farmer spent a night lying injured on the banks of the Waihou River at Okauia after his quad bike rolled during a recreational ride.
Constable Tony Hawke of Matamata Police said the man had taken the bike for a ride on an Old Te Aroha Rd farm last Monday afternoon when he had the accident but was not found, beside the river, until 11am on the day after.
The man was flown to Waikato Hospital with serious back and pelvic injuries on Monday afternoon.
He was under assessment in the emergency department.
The bike rolled over him after he climbed off to open a gate.
‘‘The quad bike has left the farm track into a culvert and the bike has rolled on top of him,’’ Mr Hawke said. ‘‘He’s crawled out on to a bank adjacent to the river. A couple of times in the night he’s fallen into the river and pulled himself out again.’’
Mr Hawke said the rider was in no fit state to explain what had happened and police would not investigate because the accident was on private land.
It appears the farmer lived alone, as no-one raised the alarm.
‘‘Someone had concerns that the man’s dogs were at home,’’ said Todd Dunham, pilot of the Tauranga based TrustPower TECT rescue helicopter, which flew the injured man to hospital.
‘‘He hadn’t been seen and that’s triggered the landowner to go down to the back of the farm where he found the bike in the ditch and the other farmer.
‘‘He was in a lot of pain. He was probably about a foot away from the edge of the river and had been there all night.
‘‘And he’s lucky . . . He’s managed to crawl out of the trench [where the motorbike knocked him in], go up and crawl under a fence.’’ ‘‘Stew’s not a happy chappie!’’ It certainly is not normal protocol to start off the new year reporting on farming aspects while in a ‘‘hissy fit’’. But the number of serious injuries and deaths in the last few months on farms, is of real concern to me. We have had two serious injury quad-bike accidents very recently in our area requiring the air ambulance. Quad farm bikes being to the fore in the death and injury media reporting. Granted, one was not directly farm-work related. Tractor rollovers on terrain where stability was not considered adding to the death and injury list. We have to be realistic and point the blame somewhere, is it the machine or the operator of the vehicle at the time? I have had gyp from farmers over the cost of their ACC annual levies, but our agricultural industry must now be becoming the most hazardous work place in New Zealand. The cost of servicing these injury and death events has to be financed from such levy. How long will it be before insurance companies term preventable farm accident deaths, legalised suicide?
And insurance policies become void for claim. It is up to you and I to reduce our rural farm accident rate, I have no doubt Department of Labour officials will present to their minister, a proposal to regu-