Kathryn’s story

On the afternoon of December 20, 2008, we were airlifted by the Rescue Chopper from Arthur’s pass after a car accident. We were on holiday from Australia and had been driving around the South Island for the previous 10 days and were heading to relatives in Christchurch to spend Christmas with them when the accident happened.

Our youngest daughter, who was 9, was the most injured with facial trauma, and there was concern she could lose an eye. Our eldest daughter 13, had multiple dislocations from shoulder through to hand. The weather was awful, heavy rain and we weren’t sure what was happening or what we were going to do. Fantastic people, whose names I never got, came to our aid and organized help whilst I focused on keeping our daughters calm, and tried to staunch the blood until help arrived. Help arrived via an ambulance and then the rescue chopper arrived. I heard the whooping sound and saw it land and was amazed we were getting this help. The Air Rescue team were so calm, kind, and positive. They made the experience as fun as possible for 2 children in shock as they got us onboard the chopper and got us to Christchurch for surgery. Throughout the journey they kept me in the loop on what was happening. I realize now I was in shock but at the time felt reasonably calm.

Our daughter kept her eye, she has had a few surgeries and has some scarring, but it’s faded over the years and the dislocations popped back into place for our other daughter.

The biggest result is that in 2020 our youngest daughter graduated as a Paramedic and now works for the London Ambulance Service. She was inspired to do this by the team who came to our rescue on that day. She said “I want to help other people they way I was helped that day”. One of her career goals is to be a helicopter paramedic.

Thank you so much Air Rescue for what you do. In our darkest moment you brought light, calmness, hope and humour, and inspired a child to achieve great things.