For Paul Foote, the day began like any other day. He never could have imagined what the day would bring, or that he would need a life-saving flight in the TECT Rescue Helicopter.
An experienced mechanic, Paul was working at his waste management business in Kawerau. While tightening some bolts under a
700kg bailing clamp attached to his loader, he saw the huge clamp coming down towards him. As he swiftly moved to get out of the way, he tripped and fell back, landing with his legs out in front of him. The clamp landed on his legs, crushing his knees.
A methodical man, Paul calmly started planning how to get out from under the clamp, but he knew the situation was critical. One of Paul's employees applied a tourniquet to his thighs. With his local ambulance service located just 600m from the site, paramedics were soon at the scene - followed closely by the TECT Rescue Helicopter.
After loading Paul into the rescue helicopter, Intensive Care Paramedic Flick assessed Paul's condition and made the crucial call to divert straight to Tauranga Hospital where he underwent a six-hour emergency surgery to amputate his right leg above the knee.
Fortunately, Paul's left leg is healing well. He spent a month in hospital and a further three months in a wheelchair, with another 18 to 24 months of recovery ahead of him.
"Dad owes his life to the actions of Flick, Todd and the crew," says his daughter Charlotte.
"We will be forever grateful Dad got to hospital so quickly and straight to the theatre for treatment. The rescue helicopter ultimately saved his life. We were that close to losing him." - Charlotte, Paul's daughter