A lesson in mountain rescue

Your support ensured Karen Griffiths was flown to safety after falling and injuring herself on Mt Taranaki.

A keen tramper, Karen Griffiths often sees the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter in operation on the mountain. But when she went for a day trip on the Mangorei Road track on Saturday 10 September, she didn’t expect to be the one rescued.

It was a beautiful day on Mt Taranaki and Karen had taken three teenagers for a tramp in the Pouakai Ranges as part of a collaboration between the Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) programme and the New Plymouth Tramping Club. However, on the way out she slipped and fell on a wooden step, dislocating her elbow. Lying in the snow in extreme agony, Karen’s tramping companions quickly got a lesson in emergency rescue.

“The girls were amazing. They pulled out a survival blanket and wrapped me up while we waited for the Rescue Helicopter,” Karen says.

When the Rescue Helicopter arrived and two crew were winched to her location, Karen says they immediately put her at ease. “I was in a lot of pain, but the crew said I was coping well. They wanted to avoid having to give me pain relief so I could be more alert. They gave me confidence,” she says.

Once she’d been winched up into the Rescue Helicopter, Karen was given a headset so she could communicate with the crew as they flew to Taranaki Base Hospital. However, it wasn’t just the rescue operation Karen was impressed with, but the follow up care from the team.

“I was discharged from hospital later that night and the next day Megan [Stewart, the St John Paramedic on board that day] contacted me to see how I was. I didn’t expect her to check up on me, but was incredibly impressed she did. The Rescue Helicopter crew were very good.”

• Karen is a member of the New Plymouth Tramping Club which is a generous supporter of the Rescue Helicopter. The Trust thanks the Club for their ongoing support and wishes Karen a full recovery. A special thank you to Karen for her generous donation of $500.

“Thanks very much for coming and picking me up from the Mangorei Track. I really appreciated how well it all went and the fantastic way I was managed.  Megan was fantastic. I trusted her totally. And I am grateful to the chopper crew for their expertise.”