February 20, 2019
A teen fell onto jagged rocks in Northland's Hen and Chicken Islands, but his backpack may have spared him from very serious injuries.
The teen was with a group of friends on one of the remote islands on Tuesday afternoon when he fell, receiving a spinal injury.
Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust were called at 2.50pm, as he was unreachable by ambulance and a boat would have taken too long.
Crew member Vasya Makhinko said it was an "interesting" callout and although the islands were "beautiful", the terrain had been challenging.
The helicopter was unable to land, he said, so helicopter emergency medical service doctor Heidi Baker and intensive care paramedic Rob Gemmell were dropped on the other side of the island.
Makhinko said the helicopter had had to refuel in Whangarei before he winched the teen from the rocks on a stretcher.
He said this had been a "bit of a challenge" as there were trees overhead of Baker, Gemmell and the teen.
"They had to get the patient from under the trees so we could get as close above them as possible."
The teen was flown to Whangarei Hospital in a moderate condition.