A 40-year-old farmer spent a night lying injured on the banks of Waikato's Waihau River after his quad bike rolled during a recreational ride.
Constable Tony Hawke of Matamata police said the man had taken the bike for a ride on an Old Te Aroha Rd farm on Monday afternoon when he had the accident but was not found, beside the river, until 11am on Tuesday.
The man, who had not been named yesterday afternoon because his family had not been told, was flown to Waikato Hospital with serious back and pelvic injuries.
He was under assessment in the emergency department.
The bike rolled over him after he climbed off to open a gate.
"The quad bike has left the farm track into a culvert and the bike has rolled on top of him," Hawke said. "He's crawled out on to a bank adjacent to the river. A couple of times in the night he's fallen into the river and pulled himself out again."
Hawke said the rider was in no fit state to explain what had happened when he was found and police would not investigate because the accident was on private land.
It appears the farmer lived alone, as no-one raised the alarm.
"Someone had concerns that the man's dogs were at home," said Todd Dunham, pilot of the Tauranga based TrustPower TECT rescue helicopter, which flew the injured man to hospital.
"He hadn't been seen and that's triggered the landowner to go down to the back of the farm where he found the bike in the ditch and the other farmer."
The man had been helped by one paramedic when Todd arrived.
"He was in a lot of pain. He was probably about a foot away from the edge of the river and had been there all night.
"And he's lucky . . . He's managed to crawl out of the trench [where the motorbike knocked him in], go up and crawl under a fence but slipped over the bank on the other side into the river . . . It's lucky he did stop where he did because it was quite a steep bank."
- Waikato Times