Rescue helicopter a lifeline in freak accident
On a family outing to an Auckland beach, Daniel Pirret-Buik almost died.
His mum Louise Pirret had taken him and his twin brother Jake, along with some friends, to Clarks Beach on the Manukau Harbour.
In what Pirret describes as a freak accident, Daniel tripped while running down the beach, and a piece of driftwood he was carrying pierced his chest just below his throat, slicing 12mm into his jugular vein.
Only a tiny hole in his chest suggested something was wrong.
"Next thing, I see Daniel walking towards me crying and I think 'oh what's he done now'," remembers Pirret, who is a nurse.
"It was horrible, it is really hard to try and bring it back."
Within minutes, Daniel was unconscious. Pirret, along with ambulance staff and fellow mother, and intensive care nurse, Donna Muir were performing CPR when the Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived to take him to hospital for treatment that saved his life.
Rather than an hour's drive, the helicopter got Daniel to hospital in about 12 minutes. The incident happened during recording for TV2's Rescue 1 show, which follows the helicopter crew on jobs around New Zealand. Footage of Daniel's rescue, in April 2009, is currently being used in this season's advertising campaign
Last Friday Daniel, now seven, and his family visited the rescue crew that saved him for the first time since the accident happened.
"They were [a lifeline]. It couldn't have been any more; everything just happened ding, ding, ding," Pirret said.
"I could tell by the look on all the attendants' faces that they didn't think he was going to make it, which was horrific... [with out them] we wouldn't have Daniel probably."
The helicopter's crew chief on that day, Herbie Barnes said the case was one that has stuck in his memory.
"I don't think the severity of the accident actually hit us until we got there.
"It really was one of those times where we had a whole lot of people able to jump in and help out the best they could, they happened to be the right people in the right place at the right time, and we were able to slot in there, stabilise him and zap to the hospital straight away."
Now three years on, Perret said Daniel is a happy, healthy boy, doing all the things seven-year-olds do.
"He just came off the luge, broke his teeth and puncture his face...so he's good," she laughed.
Barnes said it was always nice to welcome a success story back onto the crew's base.
"It very rarely happens, life carries on. But when we get the chance, when people come down and see us and we get to talk to them. It's almost a little bit like closure.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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