Farmer's amazing feat of survival Injured man drags himself a kilometre

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 08:00 20/02/2014

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An injured farmer dragged himself across a kilometre of rugged North Taranaki farmland and forded rivers after he was thrown off his quad bike when it flipped.

The Tainui search and rescue team found the 68-year-old man at his Okau Rd farm in Ahititi about 10.30pm on Tuesday night.

He had moderate shoulder and leg injuries and St John district operations manager Ian May said the man had been in a fair amount of pain.

"He was disabled and had quite significant difficulty. It took him hours to make his way just over 1km."

The farmer, who did not want to speak to the media, had last been seen by his wife at 1pm and when he did not return she raised the alarm at 7pm.

Along with the volunteer Tainui search and rescue team who started to check the farm, SAR teams from New Plymouth were also alerted and the Taranaki community rescue helicopter put on standby.

Senior Sergeant Matt Prendergast said the man had gone out to work on his farm and was on a steep track near a ponga tree when his quad bike rolled and he was thrown off.

"He had a medical condition and he was missing on his large farm so it was a concern and we swung into action."

Before the New Plymouth team could arrive, the Tainui SAR team heard the man shouting and managed to find him.

"He was actually very lucky he was located when he was."

The man was treated by St John paramedics and taken to Taranaki Base Hospital by the rescue helicopter about 11pm.

Pilot Mike Parker said the farmer was "pretty freaking amazing" and had dragged himself across river fords to get to where he was found.

"Most people would have just sat there and said bugger it, but he didn't."

The man had been in good enough spirits to jokingly complain about the lack of view from the helicopter, he said.

Yesterday afternoon the man was in a stable condition in hospital.

Mr Prendergast said it was a good reminder for farmers to take care with quad bikes. "There are a lot of farmers out there who do come to harm on them. They need to remember quad bikes are vicious beasts and they have to be very careful with them."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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