Thank you for helping get Maria to hospital so quickly


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.

On a warm Waitangi weekend, Maria and her son-in-law, Jarom, set out to enjoy another fun ride along the beach.

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.

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 Waikato Westpac 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.

Assessing her injuries, Critical Care Flight Paramedic Ray, worked with care to make Maria’s pain levels more comfortable for her.

“Maria was in quite a lot of pain, and we were keeping a close eye on the incoming weather system and with wind gusts of 40 to 50 knots, we had to work quickly to stabilise and carefully load Maria. and were soon lifting off and heading straight for Waikato Hospital.

“Once we had Maria on board, I kept a close eye monitoring her vital signs and keeping her oxygenated.  

Within a short 19-minute flight, your Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was landing at the hospital to a waiting ED trauma 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 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 not only getting her highly skilled flight paramedic to her at the scene of her accident, but also delivering her to the hospital, quickly and efficiently in what would have otherwise been a long and very painful journey by road.

Maria and her family meet her crew and thanked them personally at the recent Hanger Open Day.  They are all so grateful to the many wonderful donors who make rescues like her's possible through their generosity.

Thank you from all of us at the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter.  We can't do what we do without you!