Hiker Saves Life of Injured Stranger
Posted on August 2, 2022 by John
We had just started a two week tramping trip and thought we’d start with a quick walk to Shine Falls. Shortly after we started, some young men came running the other way asking if we had phone reception as someone had hit his head. There was no reception, so my friend ran back to the car to get our PLB, which we’d unusually left behind, and, being a medical doctor, I ran on to see what was going on; envisioning someone with some sort of open wound which would be bleeding but able to walk out.
On arrival at the scene it was obvious immediately that this was not the case and in fact, he had suffered from a significant spinal injury by diving head first into shallow water. We then spent what seemed like a very long time trying to stabilise his spine; improvising with tramping poles for support and trying to figure out how to keep him warm as he, and all the people helping, were perched on rocks in the stream and we were unable to extract him without risking more damage.
My friend returned with the PLB and we then waited for the sound of the helicopter. As the team had to come from Taupo it took some time and the patient was starting to get very cold and drowsy by the time they arrived. It was a very difficult extraction due to the terrain and inability to land the helicopter. The rescue team were winched in and we managed to get him onto the spinal board in the stream and then up a slippery muddy bank to a spot where they could safely winch him out.
The sound of the helicopter arriving was a massive sense of relief but at the same time the vision of him being winched up heavily sedated while his family stood around in devastation is something that I’ll never forget. I’ve now learnt to take my PLB with me even on the shortest walks as you just never know when it might be needed!
Words of wisdom
Always take the PLB with you!
Thank you note
Thank you so much for providing easy to take products that save lives, have no idea how things would have gone without the helicopter coming!
Shine Falls Track, Putorino 4181, New Zealand
Local Search and Rescue
ResQLink™+Go to product details
- LED strobe light
- Self Test
- 66 Channel GPS
- Easy emergency activation
- Antenna clip
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