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Teaming up with Wairarapa Search & Rescue for Aorangi rescue

Teaming up with Wairarapa Search & Rescue for Aorangi rescue

Recent bad weather made the rescue of an injured hunter in the Aorangi Forest Park tricky for those involved. However, with the experience of our Extended Care Paramedic and rescue team member Sam, plus the joint planning and deployment with New Zealand Police, Wairarapa Search and Rescue, and Life Flight ensured everyone was kept safe.

Extended Care Paramedic Sam

The 17-year-old injured hunter, had been in the park since Friday night and had fallen, injuring his legs.

Disorientated and in pain, he was forced to sleep where he fell on Saturday night. He had attempted to make his own way out on Sunday, but as it started to get dark, he recognised he was in trouble and phoned for help.  

The Life Flight Westpac Rescue helicopter was deployed but unable to locate the man due to poor weather.

This is where Sam and the Wairarapa Search and Rescue team came in.

They were picked up by the helicopter crew and deployed as close as possible to the patient.

Due to a break in the weather, the helicopter crew were later able to locate the patient and confirm the GPS location to those on the ground, yet were still unable to safely winch him out.

Sam and the team had to trek around 11 kilometres roundtrip to reach the patient.

“When we found him he was wet and had signs of mild hypothermia. He was lucky and would have been in a much worse state if we didn't reach him before the morning,” Sam explains.

As the weather was due to worsen in the morning, the team’s plan was to extricate the patient overnight.

“We were able to give him some dry clothes and thermals to warm him up. Being able to provide good pain relief meant that we were able to safely walk him out and didn't need to spend the night on the track. It was a slow walk out but a huge relief knowing he was safe.”

The team and patient walking out of Aorangi Forest Park

Once out, the patient was transported home as there was no need for further urgent medical treatment but was advised to see his GP after getting some rest as he would need to have his injuries assessed.

The patient was grateful Wellington Free Ambulance were there for him and said “big thanks” to everyone who helped get him out.

Sam explained that it really was a team effort, “great interagency communication and leadership, as well as working alongside Wairarapa Search and Rescue meant I could assess the patient’s injuries, give appropriate pain relief, and help ensure the patients safety during extrication”.

If you’re planning to go hunting or tramping in the bush, it is recommended that you have a personal locator beacon – that way if you are in trouble it will tell emergency services or Wairarapa Search and Rescue your exact location.

Personal locator beacons are available to hire from the Masterton Trust Lands Trust building.



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