A 4-day hike in the Paparoa National Park was abruptly cut short when Sawyer, age 7, slipped whilst playing at the hut with friends, landing awkwardly on his arm.

Given the severity of his pain and the distance of 2 more days in the bush before reaching the end of the trail, the call was made to emergency services. Within 30 minutes the helicopter had landed and paramedic Rod and his team were on hand offering expert care to an overwhelmed and injured Sawyer.

On further examination, it was agreed to air lift him to Greymouth hospital for further X-rays so Sawyer, Mum, and their tramping gear were packed into the helicopter and before long were being whisked across the ranges as the sun began to go down.

Rod handed Sawyer’s care over to the staff at Tē Nikau in Greymouth, where X-rays showed a bad break in his elbow and a temporary cast was applied. Local support in Greymouth then transported Sawyer and his Mum to the end of the trial on Punakiki to collect their car before the long journey over the hill back to Christchurch, arriving at 1am.

Next morning, an early start for further investigation at Christchurch Orthopaedic unit with more X-rays and a CT revealed the need for surgery to repair his broken elbow and the expert care continued there.

We are hoping for a swift recovery and to be back out in the mountains exploring again soon.

Sawyer has many kilometres under his belt since he started tramping and Moonlight Hut was his 72nd hut. We never anticipated that we would end up in a situation like this but are super grateful and thankful for the expert care and professionalism from the team from beginning to end.

The service you provide is invaluable and we are incredibly lucky to have had you assist our family.

Roa heli landing

The helicopter arrives to rescue Sawyer

heli crew with a patient

The crew take a look at Sawyer’s injury