A fisherman was rescued by the Police helicopter 'Eagle' after being swept off the rocks and into the water at "The Gap", South Piha yesterday.
The man who was not wearing a life jacket was fishing off rocks with a small group of friends and dropped his fishing rod in the water. While attempting to retrieve it he fell into the water. The man's friends deployed an angel ring which helped him stay afloat.
The conditions at the time of the rescue were quite rough with strong winds and no clear area to land Eagle.
"If you fall off the rocks and into the water it's like being stuck in a blender and the consequences of this can be fatal", says Senior Constable Alistair Grant of the New Zealand Police Air Support Unit.
The pilot perched the helicopter on the side of the rock with one skid to deploy the Eagle crew member who was met by Life guards with basic first aid gear to assist the injured man.
"As the helicopter was not able to actually land because of the rough conditions and remote location, it was only through the skill of the pilot that we were able to get to him."
"The injured man told the pilot he thought he was going to die and thought his next breath was going to be water and it would be his last. He was very grateful to see us", says Senior Constable Grant.
The injured man was transported to a nearby hospital with many cuts and abrasions from being battered by the rocks. He is expected to make a full recovery.
"Over the summer period search and rescue resources are often stretched and we would like to take the opportunity to thank the other agencies involved in this rescue. It was a real team effort and we really appreciate the support", says Senior Constable Grant.
"We want to remind those whose go fishing not to under estimate the danger of fishing off rocks and to remain vigilant of the constant changing ocean conditions.
"It's important to keep yourself and your mate's safe while out fishing this summer. We want everyone to have an enjoyable holiday season all together."
New Zealand Surf Life Saving have positioned flotation devices known as 'angel rings' throughout beaches on the West Coast from KareKare to Muriwai and encourage people to use them in an emergency.
Police would like to remind people fishing off rocks over summer to wear PFD (Personal Flotation Devices) as these help safe lives.
For more information please contact: Sara Stavropoulos, Media Advisor, Public Affairs PNHQ, 04 470 7031 or 027 499 4926.