Colin's Life-Saving Flight with the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter


Rural contractor, Colin Howes, was driving home and stopped at the end of his long drive to collect his mail.  Getting out of his car he suddenly became breathless.

Talking about the experience, he said at the time he “felt a bit concerned.” 

You see, Colin in his own words has “crook lungs” and had a chest infection at the time.  Not wanting to put anyone out, he was waiting for his appointment to see his busy local GP.   

As the days went by, Colin’s infection worsened, so much so his mate said he could hear him “wheezing so badly.”  Not realising how bad his chest infection had got until that Monday in February at the end of his drive. 

Out of breath, Colin quickly rang his son who lives 10 minutes away. Colin realised he needed help sooner than his son could get to him, so he rang 111.  A first responder arrived, then the ambulance by which time Colin thinks he must’ve blacked out as the next thing he heard was the sound of the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter overhead.  He remembers the huge relief, knowing how skilled the crew on the rescue helicopter are; Colin knew he was going to be ok. 

And nothing is truer than being in the hands of Simon, one of your Critical Care Flight Paramedics.  Simon has been a paramedic for a long time and is one of the most calm, caring men you would ever meet – both important attributes for a Critical Care Flight Paramedic to have.  

“I love that no day is ever the same. One of the biggest challenges we have is managing the severity of the patient’s injuries, in all sorts of environments. In many cases it’s just us and the patient – you’ve got to remain calm and composed.” 

For Colin, this was the second time he had been rescued by the highly trained and skilled chopper crew.  The first time was about 6 years ago.  It was a truck accident where he badly broke his ankle.  He was forever grateful back then for the rescue helicopter as they were the first on the scene of the crash. 

Colin speaks so highly of his rescue helicopter crew.  He arrived at Palmerston North Hospital with speed and after a few days on intravenous anti-biotics he was thankful to be back on the land.  He remembers with a smile the crew letting him in the helicopter with his Red Band gumboots on!    

Colin believes strongly that living both rurally, and working in remote locations, it is so important to support his local rescue helicopter. He strongly encourages all rural folk to donate to the vital service the rescue helicopter provides.

In his words: “You never know when you are going to need help, but when you do it’s good to know I contribute to the rescue helicopter”.