Locator beacon saves farmer

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 10:29 02/12/2013

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A locator beacon allowed a farmer to contact emergency services after he was injured in a quad bike crash on his farm in the Tararua region, preventing what could have been a lengthy wait for help.

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter was dispatched by Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand after the emergency locator beacon was activated south-east of Dannevirke about 11.30am on Saturday.

Pilot Lance Burns said as the helicopter neared the co-ordinates where the beacon had been detected the crew saw the crashed quad bike and the farmer.

After the helicopter landed nearby, the onboard St John paramedic treated the farmer, who had suffered injuries to his lower body.

"It appeared that his quad bike had rolled," Burns said.

He was stabilised at the scene before being airlifted to Palmerston North. "Without the use of the beacon . . . it is likely that no-one would have been alerted to the accident for some time."

A hospital spokesman said the man was in a stable condition in a ward this morning.

Burns said the farmer told him he carried the beacon because there was poor cellphone reception on the farm.

Other farmers should consider carrying the beacons, Burns said.

In June, Feilding man Richard Hina spent 24 hours trapped under a quad bike after it crashed on a Lethbridge Rd farm.

Hina called for help for several hours and was not discovered until the day after the crash when it was realised he was missing.

There has been a spate of quad bike accidents, including several fatalities, in the past two years.

On Thursday a 19-year-old suffered leg and chest injuries on a farm in Hawke's Bay when two quad bikes collided while travelling over a hill.

Earlier this month a coroner suggested quad bikes should not be referred to as all-terrain vehicles, and consideration should be given to stopping the use of quad bikes for farming altogether.

After looking into the deaths of five farmers, coroner Brandt Shortland stopped short of including among his recommendations a ban on the use of quad bikes in farming.

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- Manawatu Standard

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