It was a busy afternoon for rescuers from the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation (RARO) and the Taupo Youthtown rescue helicopter yesterday as three separate rescue operations unfolded in the Tongariro National Park.
Emergency services were first notified of a male tourist from Ireland who fell while descending Mt Ngauruhoe with a reported broken collar bone and dislocated shoulder.
Enroute the Youthtown rescue helicopter was diverted to another urgent report of a male suffering chest pains near Red Crater on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Due to poor weather RARO members assisted with a stretcher carry down Red Crater ridge out of low cloud to a position where the helicopter could access the patient.
He was suffering a heart attack and CPR was preformed and a defibrillator used to resuscitate him on two occasions. He was urgently evacuated to Taupo Hospital before being transported again to Waikato Hospital's Cardiac Care Unit where he is recovering.
In the meantime RARO members climbed Mt Ngauruhoe to locate and treat the original patient with a shoulder injury.
A short time after locating the patient in heavy cloud with limited visibility, Police received a call informing of a third patient on the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe.
This third patient had injured her knee rendering her unable to walk.
The Youthtown rescue helicopter returned and another two RARO members were deployed with a stretcher to the third patient.
The low cloud made access by helicopter difficult with both patients having to be moved to locations where they could be loaded into the machine while it hovered close to the mountain.
National Park Police praised the efforts of the volunteer RARO members whose specialised skills were put to the test in rescuing all three injured parties in difficult conditions.