“I don’t think I’m afraid to fly in a helicopter now. I’d quite like to go again – but on a nice enjoyable trip, not an emergency!”
The reason for Shelley’s enthusiasm for helicopters is clear.
She and her husband Paul, were cycling with a group through the mountain bike park at Craters of the Moon. Shelley suddenly hit a bump, somersaulted in the air and landed on her head. When she hit the ground she was knocked out cold.
The group was instantly off their bikes and into action.
“We phoned 111, gave them our GPS coordinates and very soon we had an ambulance right at the spot,” said Paul. “We couldn’t move Shelley as we were worried about the injury to her neck and head. It was a pretty stressful moment.”
The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter’s own off-duty pilot, Pete Masters, was also mountain bike riding that day and had ridden past the group some time earlier. When he saw a message on his pager come through, he headed back to the park to assist on the ground.
“Pete was amazing,” Shelley said. “I was so grateful he was there and able to reassure us that help was on the way. I don’t remember much from that day but I do remember him.”
The ambulance medics were concerned about Shelley’s head injury, and called for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter to be dispatched. Very soon she was loaded on board for the flight to Rotorua Hospital.
“We can’t say enough,” said Paul. “The ambulance and the chopper – as a team, they are incredible.”
“I have been a supporter of the rescue helicopter for years; first Waikato, then Bay of Plenty and now Greenlea Rescue Helicopter. When you need them, they’re amazing! Seeing the rescue helicopter in action goes to show what an important service it is.”
Shelley regained consciousness in the helicopter but her memory is sketchy.
“When they told me where I was and that I was flying, I was terrified as I don’t like flying but the whole team made me feel so comfortable,” recalled Shelley.
“We have firmly decided that we wish to renew our Friends of the Rescue Helicopter membership every year because without them, how might the situation have ended? Until you actually experience their service you don’t realise how vital it is.”