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Thread: Big thanks to the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Service and Team

  1. #1
    LBD
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    Big thanks to the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Service and Team

    As the title says... yes a big thank you to the Nelson Marlborough Rescue helicopter team who came to my aid today when my leg fell victim to a tree root trap leaving me with a torn calf muscle on the Speargrass track near Cedric Creek midway between the Speargrass and Sabine huts.

    What happened?... Right foot skated off forward and right, lost my balance twisted left, left leg trapped in another root, bent and twisted at the knee, fell to the low side of the track and heard/felt a distinct snap with a ton of pain. My initial thoughts of a break were discarded when I could put weight on it square but could not pivot or twist, may be Achilles? Composing myself I took a couple of strong pain killers and made very slow very painful progress about 500m over the next hour to the Cedric river.... I realized I would not be able to make it to the Sabine hut that day and would need help, if not in the short term, definitely within 36 hours.

    What was I doing? No longer young and needing to get fitter and desiring some time in the bush, I choose a gentle 4 night walk to enjoy... Rotoiti to Tutaki. I allowed plenty of time and was in no hurry, it would be five easy relaxing days. I am mindful of slippery tree roots so had been focused on careful foot placing. (but not focused enough)

    So I am at the Cedric river, in pain with a very limited capacity to continue... however I was not in any life threatening situation, forecast was good and I could survive a night or two out in these conditions, although no sleeping mat or fly sheet. Studying the map, the steepest part of the decent was yet to come and would be a very difficult as well as possibly a hazardous under taking with my leg having given way many times on all but the flattest even ground.

    I was in contact with family using a Garmin in-reach. This was about the 5th time I have carried the ability to call for help ( 4 x mountain radio and 1 x EPIRB) in some 45 years tramping and have never called for rescue (I have arranged a flight out from Big Bay at my own cost many years ago, after a severe back strain.)

    What to do, we... myself and daughter discussed options, possibly arrange for friends to walk in from Sabine to assist, but even with no load on my back the state of the leg and the decent would be a challenge... and the leg was not going to heal over night... I was in a good open location to be recovered and the location was precisely known, the pragmatic decision was to request assistance and stay put rather than re-enter the dense bush. This is what we did on, with my daughter calling 111 and explaining the situation. It was less than an hour from that decision, to being winched up from Cedric Bridge on route to the Nelson Base hospital.

    So yes, a big thank you to the very proficient and professional rescue team... some of whom follow this forum. A big thank you to all those who support and sponsor the Rescue Helicopter service who in turn have assisted very many out of many dire straights over the years... this is a great valuable service to the community.

    A foot notes...

    In the past I would always have a sleeping mat and fly or bivvy bag in case I did ever get caught out... not having them with me this trip was a decision I made in light of the short daily distances, a dislike for unnecessary pack weight and... rightly or wrongly... knowing this time, I could call for help if needed. I will rethink this decision in the future.

    While the Garmin worked fine and I did not use the SOS function on the in-reach... just communication with home and precise location, the rescue crew did voice a preference to use an EPIRB over the Garmin SOS function, although I do not recall the exact reason for this.
    jakewire, madjon_, Makros and 28 others like this.

  2. #2
    Member ROKTOY's Avatar
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    That sure had the potential to be worse, glad to know you are OK.
    You certainly made the right call.
    LBD likes this.

  3. #3
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    EPIRBs send out your GPS position, but also have a short range homing beacon.
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  4. #4
    MB
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    Glad you're OK. I too have been benefited from an unplanned helicopter ride. If you can afford it, make a donation. These things are incredibly expensive to run and funding is a struggle.
    Pengy, Nickoli, chainsaw and 5 others like this.

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    Good call.
    LBD likes this.
    Overkill is still dead.

  6. #6
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    Good on you for making the right call and for sharing this - a reminder to us all how easily it can happen to anyone. Hope you have a quick recovery and get back in the hills soon! Big ups to the rescue team.
    LBD likes this.

  7. #7
    Full of shit Ryan_Songhurst's Avatar
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    Good call and a win for technology that everybody should seriously consider investing in of you are a user of the outdoors.
    These helicopter crews are absolute badasses and a vital lifeline for our rural communities and workplaces and those who venture into the outdoors. They don't get anywhere near the recognition or funding they deserve so it's nice to hear from those who aren't too proud to share their story and create a little awareness.
    Pengy, Nickoli, chainsaw and 3 others like this.
    270 is a harmonic divisor number[1]
    270 is the fourth number that is divisible by its average integer divisor[2]
    270 is a practical number, by the second definition
    The sum of the coprime counts for the first 29 integers is 270
    270 is a sparsely totient number, the largest integer with 72 as its totient
    Given 6 elements, there are 270 square permutations[3]
    10! has 270 divisors
    270 is the smallest positive integer that has divisors ending by digits 1, 2, Ö, 9.

  8. #8
    Member 40mm's Avatar
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    Ouch! One bit of tech that is worthwhile. I usually am pretty anti tech.
    Cheers chopper charlies.
    LBD likes this.
    Use enough gun

  9. #9
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    Good call, and thanks for sharing. Have been in similar situation a few years back and pushed the button on the PLB. The chopper crews do an amazing job. With the different outdoors activities me & family are involved with, we decided to make a decent donation every year to rescue chopper services. They need community support.
    Pengy, Steve123 and LBD like this.

  10. #10
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    Flicked this all on to Steven W, one of the paramedics that picked you up. He commented -- He is a bloody good bugger. Was fun meeting him.
    You did the right thing, those chopper guys get some pretty grizzly tasks. Good common sense.
    LBD and ROKTOY like this.

  11. #11
    LBD
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    Quote Originally Posted by flock View Post
    Flicked this all on to Steven W, one of the paramedics that picked you up. He commented -- He is a bloody good bugger. Was fun meeting him.
    You did the right thing, those chopper guys get some pretty grizzly tasks. Good common sense.
    Thanks... yes they were all good blokes too... was good bonhomie.... as for my fun mood, maybe the two tramadol helped...

  12. #12
    Member bunji's Avatar
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    @LBD Glad it all worked out OK, how is the leg mending ?

    Back around 20yrs ago l had 2 nasty instances that changed the way l hunt ,both were back in the day when you were a Safety Sam if you actually showed your missus etc where you were going on a map & both meant long painful waits for the injured .Both showed how quickly things can turn to shit.

    I had a mate nearly cut his big toe off & sprain his wrist when he then fell under the weight of his pack, while trying to cross a strong flowing stream crossing bare footed to save getting his boots/socks wet, as we walked into our targeted hunting valley on a much anticipated week long hunt ,with months of planning for the trip & we only set off after a prolonged wet spell that had seen the rivers flooded & the hunt postponed twice .Luckily as it turned out with time from the weather delays for a series of phone calls ,we had been given permission by a land owner to drive in to a spot ,closer to the bush edge to start out , there were 4 of us & while we stayed with the injured mate another took off back to the vehicles & we eventually got him out 9hrs later on one of the farm horse's back to the cars.
    Since then l have always taken Dive Booty's for use on creek crossings & use them as my camp shoes.

    The other was a when l stopped carrying out carcasses unless vehicle access is close handy ,although l was not there .Around 16+ yrs ago a mate blew his knee out & twisted his back into spasm carrying a carcass out when it got caught up in the scrub ,his was much like your accident ,the ground was slippery & his foot got caught in a tree root when the carcass threw him off balance .

    They had to spend a cold night in the bush & he had to be left alone next morning while the other walked out to the truck to get help, with panic stations with their families & from memory it took 6 guys to stretcher him out in agony ,he had the knee redone only just before the first Lock Down & his back has given him shit ever since.
    @flock Would be interesting to hear direct from your mate on " the the rescue crew did voice a preference to use an EPIRB over the Garmin SOS function" I went to a NZDA Southland meeting many years ago when the inReach etc were first coming in & they had guys from the rescue groups talking on the various options & they recommended them over the EPIRB for hunters ,maybe change in tech/size with the EPIRB's or inReach technology types not living up to expectations ?
    Last edited by bunji; 20-11-2021 at 01:09 PM.
    "Fair Winds and Following Seas" - Capt Ron You Glorious Bastard

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunji View Post
    @LBD
    Would be interesting to hear direct from your mate on " the the rescue crew did voice a preference to use an EPIRB over the Garmin SOS function" I went to a NZDA Southland meeting many years ago when the inReach etc were first coming in & they had guys from the rescue groups talking on the various options & they recommended them over the EPIRB for hunters ,maybe change in tech/size with the EPIRB's or inReach technology types not living up to expectations ?
    Itís purely the homing function on the beacons that makes them a more robust system from the point of view of undertaking a search.
    The inReach and other communicators are great as you can get some insight as to what the emergency is, however they often only provide a single Lat Long.
    There have been inReach jobs out of Nelson where the location given has been up to 2.2 Km out, then revised to about half that distance. The initial search on one began in the wrong catchment, luckily they were well above the bush line and their torches stood out at dusk so fortunately a happy outcome.
    Beacons update with each satellite that passes, so by the time you launch the coordinates are normally pretty reliable.

    The Becker unit installed in the aircraft can then track the beacon radio directly. This becomes invaluable when the coordinates are under a dense tree canopy, fast tracking the process significantly.

    It is extremely reassuring to have two way communication and know your call for help has been heard. The technology is headed towards PLBs with communication capability.

    The inReach is great, but IMO itís primary application is not emergency location (excepting that this might not be so apparent to the user).
    LBD likes this.

  14. #14
    LBD
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    I think PLB with communication capacity will be a great advance... I did have a choice of an EPIRB or InReach for this trip and have been considering the differences in the last couple of days.

    No doubt if someone was in a life threatening situation requiring immediate assistance... an EPIRB complete with a homing device, that only requires to be activated, would be the most efficient way to go.

    The Inreach mini I had, did have the SOS function which I did not use. As Moutere points out the location accuracy can be hit and miss... I was not aware of this until the last couple of days and this will influence my future decisions...

    However the two way communication was also important. Being injured but not in a critical emergency situation, I was reluctant to hit the panic button until I had discussed my situation first and considered alternatives. I am not sure what message the NMRH received, my daughter mentioned to 111 that my status was not dire or life threatening... I wanted to convey the understanding that I was happy to take a number in a cue if there were other more pressing needs elsewhere.

    Worth noting is the texting with an In Reach Mini is slow and Laborious... and you may not get a message out from under tree cover or in a gully... In an urgent emergency an EPIRB should be first call.... however the Inreach is still much much better than nothing as my experience has shown

    So I guess next trip I will pack an Inreach and an EPIRB, as well as flysheet and ground mat.

    Both ankle and entire calf are swollen and bruising is coming out. Ice packs, Nurofen, elevation and rest. Doctor on Tuesday for a check up... no improvements yet.

  15. #15
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    The tasking came through as a broken leg.
    The other great thing you did was provide a physical location.
    Knowing you were located at the Cedric Creek swing bridge was great.

    Next time, I would suggest she communicate directly with the Rescue Coordination Centre as that scenario is their core role.

    The other thing worth mentioning is the call for assistance came early. Too many people leave it til night fall to request help and this may well complicate getting there, particularly if there is weather. It certainly upís the risk to the crews responding after dark.
    superdiver and LBD like this.

 

 

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