DOU­BLE RES­CUE

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - Chris­tian Haug Si­mon Creasy

I re­mem­ber one day in De­cem­ber 2015 when I did the Ton­gariro Cross­ing with a friend. We also wanted to con­quer the Ton­gariro Peak and just be­fore we reached the top we run into a young Ger­man cou­ple where she just broke her leg min­utes be­fore fall­ing. I ended up call­ing the Green­lea He­li­copter. It ar­rived af­ter 20 min­utes.

While they were treat­ing the pa­tient me and my friend took the in­jured lady’s boyfriend down the moun­tain. On the way down un­for­tu­nately my friend fell and broke her right arm. That was me call­ing the he­li­copter a sec­ond time within the hour.

My friend was in aw­ful pain, I re­mem­ber that the he­li­copter had to land on the way to Ro­torua for her to have pain treat­ment ad­min­is­tered. Both girls re­ceived surgery the same night. While none of this was a life threat­en­ing event, it does show that a Taupo based he­li­copter re­ally is not a bad idea just for its short re­sponse time.

We were lucky that day as the weather con­di­tions were good, how­ever a sim­i­lar sce­nario in cooler con­di­tions could quickly lead to sig­nif­i­cant hy­pother­mia.

BURNS SUR­VIVOR

On 18th Oc­to­ber 2005, I was forced to land due to se­ri­ous en­gine vi­bra­tion, on SH ap­prox’ half way between Taupo and Tu­rangi, whilst fly­ing my air­craft with one pas­sen­ger.

In the process of the land­ing, the right wing of my air­craft col­lided with a road­side power trans­former, re­sult­ing in the wing be­ing torn off and the fuel within the wing be­ing spilled which then ig­nited.

My pas­sen­ger and I va­cated the burn­ing air­craft and headed for the lake. We were stopped short of jump­ing into the lake by a gen­tle­man whom was wa­ter­ing his lawn - this was a life-sav­ing ac­tion on his be­half.

Within min­utes of my ‘land­ing,’ the Res­cue He­li­copter landed ad­ja­cent to the crash site. We were air­lifted to Waikato hospi­tal where overnight I was as­sessed as hav­ing 36% third­de­gree burns and was sub­se­quently he­li­coptered to Mid­dle­more hospi­tal and put into in­ten­sive care for 6 weeks fol­lowed by fur­ther months in the Na­tional Burns Unit.

Over a pe­riod of sev­eral years I have re­ceived on-go­ing grafts, etc., and have sur­vived the event.

Without a shadow of doubt in my mind, the speedy ar­rival of the Taupo Res­cue he­li­copter and the care given by the crew of that he­li­copter, cer­tainly was prom­i­nent in the be­gin­ning of the re­cov­er­ing process. An at­tend­ing doc­tor whom was fish­ing near the crash site, thought that I would not sur­vive the event and ‘pre­pared’ my wife for my probable demise.

As with most trau­matic ac­ci­dents, the speedy ac­tion in get­ting the vic­tim to hospi­tal care, is para­mount. The ‘first hour’ is es­sen­tial in as­sist­ing to­wards sur­vival.

The re­moval of bas­ing a per­ma­nent he­li­copter in Taupo will, cer­tainly in my mind, con­trib­ute to loss of life. Taupo is cen­tral to a vast area of people catch­ment and an ex­tra 40 to 50 min­utes from any other he­li­copter base to at­tend any ac­ci­dent in the Taupo area will be causal in elim­i­nat­ing that es­sen­tial ‘first hour’ sce­nario.

Is a life worth it? If it was you, would it change your mind? I am firm in my mind that a per­ma­nent base of res­cue he­li­copter in Taupo is es­sen­tial and will be life-sav­ing.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Send your let­ter to the ed­i­tor to daniel.hutchin­son@ stuff.co.nz or mail or drop it in to ‘The Ed­i­tor, Taupo Times, 45 Heuheu St, PO Box, 205, Taupo. You can also com­ment on our Face­book page or join Neigh­bourly.co.nz to con­nect with those around you.

Green­lea Res­cue He­li­copter.

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