Sound of rescue chopper the best medicine for badly injured trailbike rider video

CAMERON BURNELL/Stuff.co.nz

Trailbiker Ryan Campbell describes how relieved he was to hear the Westpac rescue helicopter as he lay injured in the depths of the Akatarawa forest north of Wellington.

Getting back on a bike is not Ryan Campbell's top priority right now. 

There are the small matters of his wife Larmaine​ being seven months pregnant with their next child, and his recovery in hospital after a grisly accident in the Akatarawa bush north of Wellington last week.

Mostly, Campbell's just grateful to be alive.

Campbell's bike ended up wedged in the fork of a tree in the thickly wooded Akatarawa Forest, between Upper Hutt and ...
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Campbell's bike ended up wedged in the fork of a tree in the thickly wooded Akatarawa Forest, between Upper Hutt and Paekakariki.

The Upper Hutt dad remembers everything about the trailbike accident in the hills between the Kapiti Coast and the Hutt Valley.

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One minute, he was riding along with his mates Scott and Steve, the next he was hurtling down a cliff, his bike wedged in trees behind him.

Julian Burn, Life Flight crewman, says Campbell's friends saved his life.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Julian Burn, Life Flight crewman, says Campbell's friends saved his life.

Campbell, who had about 20 years' experience riding dirt bikes, had bumped something and accidentally accelerated.

"The bike ended up perched in the trees there. I just went straight over the handlebars and tumbled down the cliff for probably about another 20 or 30 metres."

He knew things were bad when his mate refused to look at his legs.

Campbell says he's humbled by all the help and support he had from Life Flight, friends and family.
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Campbell says he's humbled by all the help and support he had from Life Flight, friends and family.

Is there something wrong with my legs, he asked?

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Nah, course not, was the response.

But he felt his boots warming up, as blood gushed out.

The rest of his body was getting cold, as his mates scrambled to find cellphone reception and get rescuers out to the Pram Track in the Akatarawa forest.

The Westpac rescue helicopter was summoned from Wellington. "I heard the helicopter come ... just the noise of the helicopter was just so reassuring, that someone was coming to help," he said.

"The best drug they can give you is the noise of that chopper."

Crewman Julian Burn said Campbell, who was very cold by the time paramedics reached him, would not have survived if his friends hadn't been there to call for help.

When the crew got him to Wellington Hospital, his hypothermia was so intense, and he shook so much, that hospital stuff had trouble doing any scans.

Still out of breath at times, Campbell was keen to talk this week, mostly to thank the Life Flight helicopter crew and his employer, InterIslander, which sponsored the helicopter.

He is likely to be in hospital for a while. But he's grateful to have survived, and to be out of intensive care.

He has fractures in his legs and arms, and clots in his lungs.

Friends and family have been visiting, with relatives coming from Australia and Auckland to keep him company during his recovery.

Life Flight operates helicopter and air ambulance services, and Campbell urged people to donate to the trust.

 - Stuff

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