Police credit local rescue helicopter crew's rescue of farmer stranded by floodwaters

Tuesday 24 July 2012, 1:35PM
By New Zealand Police


Waikato Police are commending the quick response by a local rescue helicopter crew following the rescue of a farmer stranded by rising flood waters near Te Aroha overnight.

District Search and Rescue Coordinator, Constable Dave Pitchford, said Police were called by family members shortly before 7am today, concerned for the well being of a 59-year-old farmer who was last seen early the night before.

"As things turned out the farmer, whose property borders the Waihöu River, had been feeding out on the back of his farm when he got trapped by rising water levels flooding his paddocks.

"The man's brother in law became aware of his plight and went to cross the water in a tractor to rescue him but this got stuck and the driver was just able to make it back to dry land. This left the farmer stranded with an uncomfortable night ahead of him."

Mr Pitchford said when Police became aware of the farmer's plight it became clear the only timely method of extracting him would be via helicopter.

"So we rang the team at the Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance in Hamilton whowere able to fly a helicopter to Te Aroha and uplift the man, flying him to safety.

"The man was very grateful if not a little bit embarrassed about his plight. A paramedic on board the helicopter was able to assess the farmer's condition and he was found to be in good health."

Mr Pitchford said the success of today's rescue highlighted the value of people taking action if they believed something was not right and notifying authorities.