Safety first . . . Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust chief pilot Graeme Gale attends a range of callouts, including those related to quad bikes. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE/ALLIED PRESS


Quad bike accidents are among some of the most serious callouts attended by the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter service.

Chief pilot Graeme Gale said the rescue team had seen “everything” over the years in regard to quad bike accidents, from fatalities to people who were now paralysed.

He said although he did not have exact figures on how many quad bike accidents the helicopter service had attended over recent years, they were definitely among the reasons for callouts.

“Some of the serious accidents that we do go to are quad bikes and there’s no secret about that.”

He said despite the risks involved when using a quad bike, they were a “fantastic tool”, which ultimately meant there were a lot of them being used.

“It’s just unfortunate that when there is an incident with one it can end with a catastrophic outcome and life-changing injuries.”

Mr Gale said a shift from two-wheel motorbikes to quads over the years had brought a range of more serious injuries with it.

Injuries resulting from a crash on a two-wheeled motorbike would sometimes result in a broken wrist, sometimes two, he said.

“The bike would go one way and the [rider] would go the other way.

“The likes of the quad bike, [the rider] tends to get trapped with the quad coming over the top of them, hence . . . [they have] been causing some catastrophic injuries.”

An Otago Regional Helicopter callout is crewed on a case-by-case basis, but can have two pilots, two medics, including an intensive care paramedic, and a winch operator if the injured person is in a precarious location.

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