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Rapid Response Saves Maria's Life: Rescue Helicopter Crew Acts Swiftly In Critical Quad Bike Accident

“Maria was in quite a lot of pain, and we were keeping a close eye on the incoming weather system. With wind gusts already around 40 to 50 knots, we knew had to work quickly to stabilise and carefully load Maria on board and get her straight to Waikato Hospital.”

On a warm Waitangi weekend, Maria and her son-in-law, Jarom, set out to enjoy another fun ride along the beach. Maria and her family are an adventurous bunch, especially when it comes to their favourite activity... riding their quad bikes along the rugged Waikato west coast beach at Kawhia.

Heading into the evening, a strong wind began to pick up along the beach. Maria, being cautious, made sure to maintain a safe speed as she rode. Suddenly, and without warning, an extremely powerful gust of wind and a terrifying swirling vortex of black sand hit, sending both Maria and her quad bike into a chaotic spin.

“It was as if a small tornado had formed right before my eyes. I became totally disoriented in the middle of the black sand." said Maria.

Seconds later she found herself being tossed high into the air before landing heavily, rolling along the sand several times. Jarom, who had been following closely behind Maria, witnessed the sudden disappearance of her bike's back lights into the thick black sand. He quickly rode towards the spot where Maria had vanished.

“When Jarom found me, he later said I was about 3 meters from where the tyre tracks stopped, and then my bike was a further 9 meters along from where I was dumped in the sand.” Maria said.

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When he got to her, Jarom knew he had to act fast. He immediately dialled emergency services.

While local first responders climbed over sand dunes to get to Maria, your rescue helicopter was tasked to the mission and was soon landing on the beach near where Maria lay. With night closing in and a predicted storm coming in off the coast, your rescue helicopter crew knew they needed to act with speed to ensure they could safely get Maria to hospital. Once by her side and assessing her injuries, Critical Care Flight Paramedic Ray, worked with care to make Maria’s pain levels more comfortable for her.

“Once we had Maria on board and in the air, I kept a close eye monitoring her vital signs and keeping her oxygenated. We are always managing pain levels for patients, so they are as comfortable as possible during flight.” says CCFP Ray.

Within a short 19-minute flight, your rescue helicopter was landing at the hospital to a waiting ED trauma call team. Maria suffered a L1 lumbar fracture, 7 broken ribs, with one painfully broken twice, and a bleed on the lung.

Maria has made an incredibly quick recovery from her painful injuries and is now back at work and continuing her physio to ensure a 100% recovery. She attributes her recovery time with the speed of the rescue helicopter in not only getting highly skilled Critical Care Flight Paramedic Ray to her at the scene of her accident, but also getting her to hospital, quickly and efficiently in what would have otherwise been a long and very painful journey by road.

Maria and her family got to meet her crew and thanked them personally at the recent rescue helicopter Open Day back in February. It is always such a fantastic moment for the rescue helicopter crew, when they get to meet the patients they rescue, again in happier circumstances.

Maria is so grateful to the many wonderful donors who make rescues like her's possible through their generosity. Missions like Maria’s happen everyday and it’s what happens next that makes the difference… YOU make that difference.

Donate to Chopper Appeal today.

Rescue Helicopter Open Day

© Scoop Media

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