Many hands made light work of a rescue emergency at Wainui
Beach, Gisborne yesterday morning.
Wainui man Murray Quilter developed a severe medical
condition just after he surfaced from a dive off Tuahine
Point at about 10.30am.
He was helped initially by his wife Sue, who was on the water
with him, then by surfers, a jet skier and his companion,
plus a large number of local residents.
The 53-year-old is recovering in Gisborne Hospital.
The couple had their small runabout anchored about 500 metres
off the point.
"Murray had just surfaced and was on his way back to the boat
when he suddenly developed excruciating pain in his head and
called to me for help," said Mrs Quilter, who had stayed in
"He was obviously in great pain and tried to swim back to the
boat but couldn't make it."
Mrs Quilter said she steered the boat over to him and helped
him on board.
"I called Gisborne-Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club on the radio
for help and they called 111 to get an ambulance to the end
of the beach."
She took their boat in towards the beach but the surf had got
up a bit and she was not confident of being able to drive the
boat through it.
"I didn't want to lose control and risk Murray ending up in
the water and maybe drowning."
She was helped at that point by a couple of surfers who were
in the area and called to a man on a jet ski as well to help.
"The jet skier was towing a sled with a couple of people on
"He dropped off all but one of his passengers, then came to
"We got Murray on to the sled and the remaining passenger lay
over him to secure him to it, then they took him through the
waves to the shore."
A number of nearby residents arrived to help and together
they helped Mr Quilter up the beach and made him comfortable
until the ambulance arrived.
He was taken to Gisborne Hospital where he was assessed in
the accident and emergency department, X-rayed, given a cat
scan, then admitted.
He is in a general ward, in what is described as a stable and
"The doctors are still assessing what caused his intense
headache but say it could be linked to a heart-related
condition Murray suffers from," his wife said.
It is not believed to have been associated with the diving
her husband was doing at the time.
"It was quite shallow out there. He was only down about 30
feet," she said.
The wetsuit he was wearing had to be cut off him when he was
at A and E.
"It is only the third wetsuit he's had in 40 years of diving,
so he is a bit miffed about it. It's a good excuse to buy him
a new one," she said.
Mrs Quilter said her husband was also concerned about the
crayfish he had caught while diving.
"He asked us several times as he was being helped on the
beach to make sure we measured them.
"He was more worried about that than he was about getting
into the ambulance."
The Quilters are both members of Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club,
along with their high-performing New Zealand representative
lifesaving children Laura and Ben.
"We are all just so relieved at the outcome of yesterday's
emergency and are so thankful to the massive number of people
who helped Murray at the beach, and later in hospital," Mrs
- By Murray Robertson of the Gisborne Herald