Lucky to Survive

TRHT Motorbike accident

Taranaki businessman, Billy Preston donates $2,000 to Taranaki Rescue Helicopter after quad bike accident.

Billy Preston wasn’t a friend of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter. He never thought he would need it. But that was before he was airlifted to Taranaki Base Hospital with a cracked sternum and a bruised bone in his back after a quad bike accident earlier this year.

The owner of Phoenix Shipping Agencies Ltd, Billy was on the trails around Glen Nui with a friend on January 31st when fatigue hit. “I was going up a hill and instead of getting off my backside, I stayed on the bike,” Billy recalls. “The bike came up, I went down, and it rolled on top of me. I was lucky to survive.”

Not realising the extent of his injuries, Billy rode a further one kilometre to a clearing; however, when he started experiencing chest pain he realised things weren’t quite right. “I was fortunate that when the bike flipped, two guys behind me helped and one of them was a St John volunteer. He checked my vitals and laid me down in the shade, keeping me hydrated while we waited for the rescue helicopter.”

Once at Base Hospital, Billy discovered the full extent of his injuries. He had a cracked sternum, a torn rotator cuff, a bruised bone in his back and needed 19 stitches in his leg. “I stayed in hospital until about 10pm that night so they could monitor me, then was instructed to lie on my back with my leg in the air for the next week.”

This enforced holiday gave Billy time to reflect on the accident and the role of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter. “They are a brilliant crew and I was very happy they were there, so there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to give them a donation. The service is invaluable.”