July 15, 2023
“It was such a beautiful morning,” recalls Mary Boyd of her boat trip to Kawau Island on Saturday 3rd June, King’s Birthday weekend.
Mary had disembarked from her son Andrew and daughter-in-law Julie’s trailer boat at the Starboard Arms Wharf at Kawau Island’s North Cove. The trio had just finished helping unload some food and building supplies when disaster struck.
Meg, the family dog, had jumped off the boat eager to get to the family bach, but was still tethered to a long rope. When grandson Thomas and his wife Rushca, who were already on the island, came to the wharf to greet them, an excited Meg decided to ‘take the lead’ and Nana along with it!
Unaware at the time, Mary’s legs were entangled in the rope. As Meg rushed to meet the young couple, it tightened causing the 83-year-old to fall and injure the right side of her body. Mary praises Thomas for catching her head just in time, saving it from hitting the edge of the wharf.
“I knew straight away what I’d done,” Mary says, “and Meg knew something awful had happened too.”
“Meg was pacing up and down the wharf with her head down. When she got home, she apparently went straight to her kennel. Dogs are so sensitive,” Mary says.
Fortunately for Mary, she wouldn’t have to endure the long trip back.
A retired practice nurse, with 25 years’ experience, Mary said it didn’t take long for paramedics to arrive. Daughter-in-law Julie had also practiced nursing.
“I had faith in the medicals who helped me,” Mary says, “It helps a lot when you know what’s going on with your body.”
When she heard the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was on its way, she said she felt 'relief'.
“I wouldn’t have to be loaded onto the boat and make the gruelling trip back to Sandspit (wharf). I just put myself in their hands.”
More help came from above as Critical Care Paramedic Andreas Schold was winched down from the helicopter. Unlike Meg and her rope, Andreas was securely attached to a winch cable made up of 133 strands of stainless steel and capable of carrying 600 pounds (272 kilograms) - more than enough strength to take Mary on a stretcher and himself up.
“Andreas made me feel quite comfortable and safe.”
Mary was flown to Auckland City Hospital. She often supports the Auckland Westpac Rescue service, as her family on the island might need it one day. She never imagined she would need it.
“The crew were just brilliant,” Mary says, “I had every confidence they knew what they were doing.”
Mary intends to write a story about her experience for her retirement home’s monthly newsletter. She hopes it will be helpful for visitors to our islands and other isolated areas who may be wondering how important the service is.
Teaching Kiwi kids how to stay safe in the water this summer, expert shows how to perform CPR
December 12, 2023