Adventurous oldies impress chopper crew

21:47, Jun 15 2014

As much of the nation sat watching television on Sunday morning a band of old codgers was impressing the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust - despite needing something of a rescue.

Paramedic Chris Deacon says they flew out to Tiritiri Matangi Island yesterday morning to pick up a man who had crushed his leg in a kayaking accident.

"It could have been a bit of a mole hill," he told Fairfax Media, "but what I was impressed with was the ages."

The man needing help was in 60s and he was with three women in their 70s also kayaking the Hauraki Gulf.

"They were out there doing it, having adventures while the nation's young people, sitting on the couch, are not. They're playing game-boys and things like that."

And watching the World Cup.Deacon said the party had launched their kayaks at Army Bay in Whangaparaoa aiming to paddle the five kilometres to Tiri Tiri.


As they were doing that a fishing kayak was also being launched and as its owner was taking the trailer ashore, the sixty-year-old volunteered to hold his kayak.

As it did, a wave came in and slammed the kayaks together, crushing the man's leg.

Undeterred he joined the women and paddled out to Tiri Tiri, doing a circuit around it and then coming ashore at the wharf.

"He was a bit uncomfortable," says Deacon, adding that while the leg wasn't broken, is had major soft tissue damage.

Deacon says the party were not planning to seek immediate help. 

The women kayakers had organised a system to tow the wounded man back to Army Bay where they planned to drive off to see a doctor. 

The Fuller ferry arriving at the island had a volunteer ambulance driver aboard and he provided first aid, calling for an airlift.Deacon said when they flew in some more oldies were on hand.

They landed at the lighthouse and were greeted by an 80-year-old volunteer who drove them to the patient.

"He was as fit as a buck rat."

And another old codger helping Deacon recognised; they had air lifted him off Great Barrier where he had been planting trees some time before.

The kayaker was treated and discharged at Auckland Hospital, leaving one paramedic very impressed.

"The older people are out there doing it, and having a great time."