Your Support Makes a World of Difference


Your support ensures your rescue helicopter can be there for families like Ben’s at the scariest moments of their lives.

While on a family holiday in Port Charles, 9-year-old Ben took a tumble off a bouncy castle.

“He pulled his legs up in the air and took too big of a jump down the slide, missed the bottom and thumped to the ground, landing straight on his lower back,” said mum Laura.

Ben’s reaction on landing alarmed his parents. “He couldn’t feel his legs very well and we panicked about the extent of what he might have done,” said Laura, “so I kept him still while his dad phoned 111.”

“You realise just how far away you are when you’re in an emergency,” said Laura. “It would’ve been an awful drive for Ben with a back injury, to ride that partial dirt road on the 2-hour trip to Thames Hospital.”

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was immediately deployed on the swift 40-minute flight to Port Charles and landed on a grassy area near Ben.

Ben wasn’t too sure about going anywhere. “Have I broken my back?” he asked. “No, it’s fine, we just want to make sure everything’s OK.”

Ben very quickly got comfortable onboard the helicopter, distracted by monitors and gadgets on the urgent flight to a specialist hospital.

X-rays of Ben’s injuries showed lower vertebrae compression fractures, which doctors said would eventually heal. “The whole no-feeling in his legs was ‘shock’ basically,” said Laura. “That was scary - when your child turns to you and says, “I can’t feel my legs mum.”

This welcome news was Ben’s ticket home but only after he had shown doctors that he was mobile enough to be discharged from hospital.

“He sprung up the following day and walked up and down the corridors,” said Laura, laughing. “He bounced back so quickly that it was a bit concerning.”

“If we hadn’t had access to the rescue helicopter, getting Ben to hospital from such a remote spot would have been awful,” said Laura.

"We've had first-hand experience of the air rescue service now and realise what the rescue team does and the service that they provide to everybody; it's incredible." - BEN'S MUM LAURA