Bruce's lucky escape

On 10th November last year, Warkworth resident Bruce Tomlinson, with the aim of trying out a new spray tank, was ready to roll on the family farm in Wellsford.

The only problem being it wasn’t the type of roll he had anticipated.

Just two minutes into spraying, disaster struck.

“I’d stopped to engage the four-wheel drive on my tractor,” Bruce explains, “The hill country I was in definitely required it. Applying the brakes, my wheels slid on some juicy thistles. As I lost control, I realised things weren’t going to end well.”

The tractor started rolling, unfortunately, over top of Bruce. It would career a further 80 metres down the hillside, ending up completely destroyed. Bruce came to 10 minutes later. Fortunately, he had his cell phone on him and good coverage.

Emergency services walked cross-country to find Bruce, quickly ascertaining that the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter would be needed to airlift him out.

“What a fabulous sound. Landing in a nearby paddock, crew carefully loaded me onto a stretcher and navigated their way over challenging terrain to get me ready for take-off.”

Bruce can’t remember much about the 20-minute flight to Auckland City Hospital but recalls, “a laugh or two with these incredibly giving souls.

”Bruce suffered a laceration and fractures to his skull, seven broken ribs, and fractured vertebrae in his back and neck with injuries to both scapulars. He encourages everyone to support the helicopter service.

“I thought I was immune to needing any such support myself.”