Injured American tourist Kirsten Steinke is on her way home to Colorado on an international air ambulance.
Ms Steinke arrived at Hamillton Airport just after 8am in a private ambulance with her mother Gerri, and a specialist American medical team.
Her father Jim Steinke left for America last night on a commercial flight.
Ms Steinke was wheeled from the ambulance covered in a red blanket and was carefully loaded onto the Lear jet aircraft.
Prior to the flight Ms Steinke remained inside the ambulance on the Tarmac while final preparations were made by the American crew from Air Ambulance Specialists.
Her mother Gerri came into Hamilton Airport terminal to pick up supplies from a bookstore with one of the medical team.
Ms Steinke will be cared for by a registered nurse and respiratory therapist on the almost 18 hour flight home which will include a stopover in Hawaii for a crew change.
The flight will then depart for Colorado where Ms Steinke will be taken straight to a specialist rehabilitation unit to continue her recovery from the September 20 crash that claimed the life of her husband Kallan Stithem.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is it time for backyard fireworks to be banned?Related story: (See story)