Mountain rescue saves Frenchman | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Mountain rescue saves Frenchman

The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to Mt. Ngauruhoe yesterday afternoon.

A Frenchman in his early twenties fell and sustained a suspected ankle fracture and a laceration to his head. He was travelling in a group with three others who raised the alarm.

Due to passing cloud obscuring much of Mt. Ngauruhoe and above the south crater of Mt Tongariro, Ruapehu Alpine Rescue (RARO) team members were used for the initial locate and recovery phase on the operation.

The passing cloud momentarily cleared and allowed the RARO team to be hover-loaded out of the helicopter onto steep northern slopes of Ngauruhoe. Unfortunately the patient was located on the western side of the mountain was still enveloped in thick cloud.

Despite the poor visibility the RARO team quickly traversed their way around the mountain and found the injured man. A momentary clearance in the cloud allowed the rescue helicopter, which was waiting engine running in the south crater of Mt Tongariro, to ascend to the injured man.  He was then quickly transferred into the hovering helicopter for his extraction.

Moments after his recovery, the cloud returned and the alpine rescue team were required to walk back down Mt Ngauruhoe as the helicopter was unable to return to collect them.

The injured man was airlifted to Rotorua Hospital.

Mountain Rescue Greenlea Rescue Helicopter Mt Tongariro


Philips Search & Rescue Trust (PSRT) is the charity responsible for the North Island’s largest pool of community helicopters. PSRT was founded in 1985 after an endowment by Philips New Zealand Limited to mark a light aircraft accident near Turangi in which two Philips personnel lost their lives.

Encompassing six rescue helicopters and two fixed-wing planes, the service provides air health and rescue services free of charge to the public on a no-fault basis. The rapid response is powered by an expert crew of pilots, paramedics, flight nurses, Police and volunteer crewmen. In a life and death situation it is this speed and agility that can make all the difference, with patients able to receive medical treatment whilst en route to a medical facility.

Philips Search & Rescue Trust operates:

Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Waikato King Country
Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter, Bay of Plenty
BayTrust Rescue Helicopter, Rotorua – Bay of Plenty
Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, Taupo – Central Plateau
Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter, Manawatu – Whanganui
Westpac Air Ambulance (Fixed wing), Nationwide


Medical emergency at school camp
Farmer injured near Eketahuna
Shoulder injuries on Rangiaea Island

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