Bush rescue when hike turned sour

A hike’s peace and quiet can quickly turn to pain and desperation, as one hiker discovered recently while out at Kapiti’s Nikau Palm Reserve

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“Harm or tragedy can strike at a moment’s notice, but you’ll be in good hands should we get called because the entire team are committed to looking after people.”

Thanks to Wellington Free Ambulance’s Rescue Squad paramedics, they quickly found and cared for the 48-year-old hiker who had fractured her wrist and ankle. 

Paramedic James McGregor, a member of the rescue squad charged with caring for patients where access is tight, was in Johnsonville when he received the call.

He often works closely with Police Search and Rescue and Fire Service crews, responding to everything from off-road crashes to construction site accidents.

The squad’s equipment is specially tailored for hard-to-get-to accidents, so reaching the hiker approximately 300 metres up the muddy Reserve track wasn’t a problem.

“We used the wheel, a heavy-duty stretcher with a large rubber tire that enables paramedics to provide patient care where normal extraction is nearly impossible,” James says.

He says the hiker was in good hands when the squad arrived, aided by the Paraparaumu Volunteer Fire Brigade, because team are well-versed in rescue missions.

“When we found her, we quickly assessed her, administered pain relief and splinted her fractured wrist and ankle.”

Without the squad’s rescue equipment, James says getting the patient out of the steep, muddy and uneven terrain would have been unsafe for everyone involved.

But the trained professionals made short work of it and transported the patient to Wellington Hospital for further care.

“Our job as paramedics doesn't end just because people are in hard to access locations,” James says.

“Patient care is our focus, no matter where. And our expertise is often called on more during the summer months when people are enjoying the outdoors.

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