Rescue chopper kept busy by two mountain accidents

An injured mountain biker who alerted emergency services about a seriously injured paragliding...
An injured mountain biker who alerted emergency services about a seriously injured paragliding pilot near Arrowtown walks into Lakes District Hospital after being flown there by a Lakes District Air Rescue Trust helicopter on Thursday evening. Photo: Guy Williams
A paragliding pilot seriously injured in a crash landing between Coronet Peak and Arrowtown on Thursday was lucky to be spotted by an injured mountain biker in the same area.

The condition of the 29-year-old man, who is in Dunedin Hospital’s intensive care unit, was described as stable by police yesterday.

Although police and St John were able to provide few details, the Otago Daily Times understands the mountain biker called 111 after injuring his wrist in a crash earlier in the afternoon.

He was waiting to be picked up by a Lakes District Air Rescue Trust (LDART) helicopter when he called back emergency services about 5pm to say a paraglider pilot was lying unconscious nearby.

The helicopter  landed near the man, who had serious head injuries.

After flying him to Lakes District Hospital in Frankton, it later returned to transport the mountain biker to the hospital as well.

A police media adviser told the ODT the paraglider had "landed heavily", but could not say where the man had taken off from, and how long he had been lying injured. A second helicopter, from Otago Regional Rescue, transported the man to Dunedin Hospital after he was stabilised.

LDART chairman Jules Tapper said both the paragliding pilot and the mountain biker were recovered from a ridge above Bush Creek, about 4km from Arrowtown.

The mountain biker had hurt his wrist in a "nasty spill."

"It wasn’t critical, but he was in a position where he couldn’t get off the mountain by himself and was in a bit of pain."

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