Man badly burned in bonfire

A Riwaka man has been helicoptered to Hutt Hospital's specialist burns unit after falling into a bonfire in the early hours of this morning.

The 21-year-old man was airlifted around 4.30am by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue helicopter from Murchison.

He had been with friends when he stumbled backwards into a bonfire and suffered widespread burns to his body. He was initially listed as being in a Status 2, or serious condition.

A crewman on-board the helicopter, Ernie Bryant, said they picked the man up from the Murchison Medical Centre following the accident.

"He didn't give us a lot [of information about how it happened]. They were just a group around his age standing around having a bonfire and the next thing he's in it somehow.

"He doesn't really know how [it happened] either."

He was flown to Hutt Hospital's specialist burns unit in Wellington for further treatment and was listed as being in a stable condition.

The crew also rescued a couple from Christchurch around 5pm yesterday who were trapped by a rising river in the Matiri Valley.

"They were at the end of their tramp and they got caught where the river rose quite suddenly and it blocked their path to get back to their vehicle."

The couple then attempted to return to a hut they had been staying at the previous night, but again found the rising river had rendered them trapped.

"So they activated their emergency locator beacon and we went and grabbed them.

"There's the old thing, 'when is it a good time to set your beacon off' - it's as soon as you pull it because it was getting late in the afternoon, close to getting on to dark, the river was rising a little bit - the earlier people activate it and get going, the easier it is to extricate them."

The pair were uninjured, aside from being cold and tired, Mr Bryant said. The crew then swept the rest of the valley looking for anyone else who may have been caught by the rising river but found no one.

Meanwhile in Tauranga, a 36-year-old Katikati man was flown out of the Kaimai ranges this morning after injuring his knee.

He was was tramping with his two sons aged 10 and 16 yesterday evening when the injury occurred.

The trio stayed at the Motutapere Hut over night and three members of the Tauranga Land Search and Rescue went in last night to assess the patient.

The Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter from Tauranga flew in this morning and was able to airlift the patient to the Tauranga Hospital.


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