Jacob’s Flight to Safety

When seven-year-old Jacob Cope fell down the side of a bush track, your support ensured the rescue helicopter was able to winch him to safety.

It was meant to be an uneventful Sunday afternoon in February. Seven-year-old Jacob Cope had laced up his walking shoes and was enjoying an easy walk on the York Road Track in Egmont National Park with his best mate and their family. But the river they were walking near was too inviting for the seven year-old adventurers to resist and they ducked under a barrier to get closer to the water.

As the adults in the walking party called the boys back onto the track, Jacob lost his footing and slid five metres down the bank to the river bed below. Back home in Hawera, Jacob’s parents, Adam and Marissa Cope were spending their Sunday in the garden. “It certainly wasn’t the phone call we wanted to get,” says Marissa. “To hear your son has fallen down the bank, gashed his head open and the Rescue Helicopter is on its way.”

While Adam and Marissa drove the one hour to Taranaki Base Hospital, Jacob was stable and in good hands. “His best mate’s mother had a full first aid kit with her so had stemmed the bleeding and a DOC worker was also on the scene,” says Marissa. However, there was nowhere for the Rescue Helicopter to land, so Jacob was winched up into the aircraft. Upon arrival at Base Hospital, Jacob was kept in for observation and received five staples in the back of his head. “It was just fortunate he slipped rather than tumbled down the bank otherwise his injuries could have been a lot worse,” says Marissa.

Living in Taranaki, Jacob knew of the Rescue Helicopter, but the Cope family never expected they’d need it. “Jacob was just out for an easy walk so the last thing we expected was that he’d be rescued,” Marissa says. “It just goes to show you never know when you might need the service. It’s a fantastic resource for our region to have.”