Woman survives being crushed by horse

KAROLINE TUCKEY
Last updated 15:49 28/05/2014

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A rescue helicopter arrived at the scene of a Levin hunting accident at the same time an emergency call was made, after an eagle-eyed crewman spotted the accident scene.

A Levin woman suffered serious upper-body injuries after falling from a horse, which then rolled on her, on Sunday afternoon, Palmerston North rescue helicopter pilot Chris Moody said.

A nurse on board the helicopter and an ambulance crew who arrived soon after stabilised her at the site, before she was flown to Palmerston North Hospital.

The freakishly quick response time was a silver lining to the accident, the helicopter's response saving the woman a longer journey over rugged farm tracks, Moody said.

"This is the first time we've seen it and called it in to comms."

The chopper had been heading back from a patient transfer to Hutt Hospital when they flew inland from the coast over Poroutawhao, he said.

"I had alerted the crew that we were approaching Palmerston North and that there was a hunt on that day, and my crewman said 'oh, I can see someone'.

"We could see some riders on their horses and some standing on the ground, and we could see this woman lying flat on her back ... you could see quite clearly from 1000 foot that she was lying on her back and not moving, because she had a bright red waistcoat."

The crew circled the accident scene and radioed the Central Communications Centre to see if an emergency call had been made.

"They'd just received a call, and ... said 'land and see what assistance you can offer'."

Manawatu hunt master Mark Goodwin said the woman was also helped by a doctor who had been on the hunt. It was believed she had broken her arm.

"She was talking in her normal manner, and was a little bit uncomfortable, but the doctor said it was nothing major," Goodwin said.

The helicopter's immediate arrival had been "a little bit of a surprise", he said.

"It was very, very lucky - very fortuitous."

About 50 people had been on the hunt, he said.

"We have about 30 hunts a year, between April and July.

"The season's been good, it's been a great mild winter, the ground's been good, and there's quite a few hares around up there."

Accidents were rare, he said.

"The only other time we've had a helicopter was about 15 years ago.

"It's not a dangerous sport ... people fall off occasionally, you get the odd injury."

A MidCentral DHB spokesman said records indicated the woman was discharged on Sunday.

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- Horowhenua Mail

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