Quad bike flip traps worker for icy 23 hours

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 05:00 23/06/2013

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God's hand, a running quad bike engine and six layers of clothing contributed to a miraculous survival story on a Manawatu farm, where a worker lay pinned for 23 hours in frigid conditions.

Richard Hina, 20, lost control of a quad bike on the Lethbridge Rd farm he works on, northeast of Feilding, about 9am on Friday.

Twenty-three hours later he was found, hypothermic but with no serious injuries, having survived a wet night exposed to near freezing temperature.

Hina spent last night in Palmerston North Hospital but could be home as early as today, said his mother, Toni Ferris.

He works for farm owners Lydia and Shane Read, who were away in Taupo. Their arrival home was delayed by snow, and they didn't immediately realise Hina was missing. But they were worried when yesterday morning, they hadn't heard from him.

"My husband went out looking for him at 7am when it got light and found him trapped," Lydia Read said.

One of Hina's shoulders and both his legs were pinned.

"The hand of God was on him. It's miraculous he survived," Read said.

Hina told him he lost control of the quad bike and jumped clear, but it rolled onto him.

"He didn't do anything wrong. He's a really solid and responsible farm worker. This is such a lucky escape that you can only put it down to God's hand."

Ferris said her son was resting last night and trying to catch up on sleep.

"He's all right. He's a bit cold and a bit tired. It's a miracle that he's come out of it with possibly just some bruises and a few sore muscles."

He was trapped for 23 hours, but was kept warm by the quad bike's engine, which kept running until early on Saturday.

"He also had six layers of clothing on and full wet-weather gear," Ferris said. Hina was found about 8am yesterday and emergency services were quickly on hand.

A police constable used his new iPhone to give the Palmerston North rescue helicopter the co-ordinates of where to land.

Meanwhile, three Southland hunters were rescued yesterday by the Otago rescue helicopter after getting snowed into a hut near Lake Onslow for three days.

Helicopters Otago chief pilot Graeme Gale said due to poor visibility it took a few attempts to reach the hut. He said the hunters "were pretty pleased to see us".

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- Sunday Star Times

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