Hero dog sets off hillside rescue
A Nelson woman who broke her leg on the Centre of New Zealand track says her border terrier Georgie played a central role in her rescue, by barking frantically as she called for help.
Jennie Warr said that as she lay in agony on the hillside in the dark on Monday night, she could see the headlights of two runners in the distance.
She was hundreds of metres off the main track and was worried that no-one would hear her cries for help.
"I was lying there accessing the options really. There didn't seem to be many apart from dragging myself up the hill to get a bit of shelter."
The radiologist who works at Nelson Radiology was winched from the hillside by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter in a dramatic night-time rescue.
The Grove St resident said she had discovered an old unused track up the Centre of New Zealand from the back of Grove St and was walking down it home when she stepped in a hole and twisted forward landing on her leg.
"I fell over and heard a nasty crack, I couldn't weight bear at all." She rated the pain as a 10 out of 10.
The hillside was so steep she was unable to shuffle up or down it. She had seen a piece of timber at a nearby shed and wanted to get to it to make a splint, but was unable to move.
She could see the two flecks of lights of runners coming down Walter's Bluff track but as she lay there "calling and calling and calling with all her oomph" the lights didn't stop. "Then the dog started to go berserko."
Ms Warr said Georgie had not barked the first time she yelled for help, but started going berserk the second time she started yelling. She believed Georgie could sense her panic.
She later discovered that the two runners, one of whom was Nelson city councillor Derek Shaw, had been talking and had not heard her cries for help.
However, a woman - another Grove St resident - had heard her cries and Georgie barking and stopped the men to alert them to the fact she thought someone was in trouble.
"She was going to carry on thinking it was kids, but heard this frantic barking and stopped."
Ms Warr said she was so far off the track it took the trio 10 minutes to find her. "I was just so pleased when they found me."
From her hospital bed yesterday she said that she wanted to thank all those who had helped in her rescue including emergency services and the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter.
"It's a great example of people being willing to stop in their lives and actually check something out; that it's not a goat or it's not kids playing around. I'm really grateful to those people."
When the trio got to her they ran for help and contacted emergency services from Hardy St resident's Miranda Van Dyke's house.
Mrs Van Dyke and her daughter brought warm clothes and emergency doctor Mark Reeves.
The group made a splint for Ms Warr's leg using the plastic doggie doo bag, her belt, and pieces of wood from the nearby hut.
"Loads of factors came into play. I feel really, really fortunate for all the help I've had. I would just like to thank everybody. I'm really lucky it's all gone so smoothly."
She had surgery on her leg on Tuesday and faces six weeks without being able to put weight on her leg.
Ms Warr praised the care she has received at Nelson Hospital, from her treatment in the Emergency Department, to her surgeon, to all the nurses and hospital staff taking care of her.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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