A Rapid Response

Alfred Scherrer is a husband, a father, a son and a soon-to-be grandad. And thanks to your support of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust, he’s a survivor.

Alfred Scherrer can’t remember much about his accident, other than coming to and hearing the sound of the Rescue Helicopter. The father of five from Eltham was riding his dirt bike on the Old Whangamomona Road when he collided with another rider. With no cell phone reception and in need of medical help, he owes his rescue to his wife, Sandra’s, foresight.

“Three weeks earlier Sandra had bought a personal locator beacon because we often go out riding in remote areas,” says Alfred. “On this particular day I was out on the trails with my son Luke and daughter, Gabrielle and my son’s friend, Jack. He was first at the scene and thought I was a goner so told Luke and Gabrielle to stay away, and let off the locator beacon.”

The beacon’s GPS information was relayed through the Rescue Coordination Centre who were able to direct the helicopter crew to Alfred’s location. Knocked unconscious and with a fracture at the base of his skull and a broken thumb, Alfred was placed on a stretcher and driven to the Rescue Helicopter’s nearby landing site, utilising a quad bike. Upon admission to Taranaki Base Hospital, the dairy farmer was in a brace for nine weeks and needed a couple of months off work.

“Timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The cows were dry and I got the go ahead to go back to work when the cows started calving. I haven’t been back on the bike yet though.”

While recovering, Alfred visited the Rescue Helicopter base, meeting pilot Mike Parker and crewman Andy Cronin who were on duty the day of Alfred’s accident. “The service is very good, the crew do a wonderful job with the facilities they’ve got,” Alfred says.

“We have always donated to the rescue helicopter, but I never thought I’d have to use it.”

“Thank you very much to all concerned from the bottom of our hearts. We still have a husband, father, son and soon-to-be grandad, due to the rapid response of those concerned.”

Sandra Scherrer