Injured farmer kept company by dog

Last updated 07:55 16/01/2014

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An elderly farmer needing rescue after injuring himself in Pohangina Valley backcountry was kept company by his faithful dog while he waited for help.

The 75-year-old man was found by a LandSAR member about 7pm Tuesday after failing to return from mustering sheep on an ATV in Pohangina Valley, north of Ashhurst.

Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter pilot Chris Moody said they were able to track the man via personal locator beacon, but due to a steep sided ravine in the area, his exact location could only be narrowed down to within a few 100m.

When dense bush scuppered airborne searches, the helicopter crew continued the search on foot with the help of family members and police search and rescue.

The man was found by LandSAR member Tony Groome using a hand held beacon tracker. He had fallen down a steep ravine and Mr Groome found him 100m down in a creek at the bottom of the gorge.

He is believed to have suffered from a medical issue, but it is not known what that issue was.

He was found conscious but dazed, with hip, head and leg injuries having fallen a number of times.

His dog was found waiting patiently by his side.

The man was airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital, and has since been discharged.

Police Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Andy Brooke said the incident was yet another example of how useful personal locator beacons can be when working in the outdoors.

"If he had not had the beacon and activated it in his life threatening situation it might have been hours before he was reported missing and the task of searching for him in the dark and difficult terrain would have been extremely problematic."

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- Manawatu Standard

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