Living in sunny Tauranga, 12-year-old Makae and his family love to ski and snowboard the ramps and rails at Turoa Ski Field each winter.
During the winter school holidays, Makae and his brother were snowboarding, practising tricks in the jump park, when they decided to head up to the higher, more advanced jumps to film themselves. As Makae took off towards the first jump, his brother called out a warning, letting him know he needed to go much faster to make the jump.
Unfortunately for Makae it was too late, he attempted the jump but came down and landed with his right leg taking all the impact. He heard a crack and could feel the bone in his leg moving – screaming out in pain, he knew it wasn’t good.
Mount Ruapehu Ski Patrol got to Makae quickly, stabilised him and stretchered him down to the urgent care clinic on the mountain.
Aside from his obvious broken leg, the medical team thought he possibly also had a broken pelvis. “Everything then stepped up a notch and the medical team said the best way to get Makae urgently to hospital, was via the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter.” Makae’s mum Gen said.
The rescue helicopter was dispatched and landed on the Ruapehu Alpine Lifts helipad in 25 minutes. The highly skilled rescue helicopter crew assessed Makae’s comfort level and decided monitored sedation would be best for him during his flight to the hospital.
“The crew were so calm and reassuring, we felt very safe and in good hands,” says mum Gen of the 40-minute flight to Waikato Hospital.
Makae suffered a broken femur and required surgery where two rods were inserted from his knee to hip, along with a concussion. He had six weeks of no load on his leg including days in traction. He started to walk again months after his surgery and not long after, had the rods removed from his leg.
When accidents like Makae’s happen, the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter is there for patients, thanks to you! Makae and Gen are incredibly grateful for your support.
Have you had a time-critical flight in your rescue helicopter? Our Marketing & Patient Coordinator Gillian would love to talk with you – please email Gillian at [email protected] or call 0800 11 10 10 if you would like to share your story.