Tramper trapped by boulder near Arthur's Pass

Rescuers used a crow bar to prise a boulder off a tramper yesterday morning, one of two unusual call outs for the NZCC Rescue Helicopter.

All patients rescued yesterday were the same age.

Pilot Martin Shaw, said the 66-year-old Christchurch man was doing the three passes walk in Harman Pass, near Arthur's Pass, when a one-tonne boulder moved, trapping him by the leg.

Mountain radio, then someone else's locator beacon, was used to alert rescuers.

As he was trapped in a gully, Mr Shaw hovered close by dropping off a paramedic and policeman, plus the crowbar and equipment picked up from Arthur's Pass search and rescue.

The rescuers, with some people who were already with the man, managed to get it off him.

"He was relatively unhurt once it was off him. By moving the boulder, they could have made it a lot worse.

"They were careful not to crush him."

He was taken to Grey Base Hospital with "not significant" injuries.

As Mr Shaw was bringing him in about 1pm, he heard they may be needed at Blackball.

A woman on a tour of Ford Creek, to look at historic relics, had collapsed.

She too was aged 66, from Christchurch.

As she was down a gorge, the helicopter winched her out.

She was not seriously ill.

After landing, they flew to Westport to bring back a man with a "reasonably serious" medical condition. He too was aged 66.

Mr Shaw said they did not even shut down the engine between the first two rescues.

- By Laura Mills of the Greymouth Star

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