‘Lucky’ farmer badly hurt

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

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-

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