The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter, which airlifted a woman, 17, to hospital after her ute flipped. PHOTO/FILE
By Hayley Gastmeier
It was by “pure chance” that a young woman whose vehicle flipped onto its roof near Eketahuna had cell phone reception to call for help.
The 17-year-old woman was flown to Palmerston North Hospital with moderate to serious injuries this morning.
The crash happened just before 8.40am on Route 52 at Tiraumea, between Eketahuna and Pongaroa.
The woman was the only occupant in the vehicle.
Eketahuna volunteer fire brigade senior station officer Brent Dickson said the woman had been travelling north to work, when her ute came off the road and went down a small bank.
The vehicle landed upside down, and due to “complaints of a sore back”, emergency services did not remove the woman until the helicopter arrived.
Mr Dickson said Route 52 was “not a well-travelled road”, and the crash site was “easily” a 45-minute drive from Palmerston North.
“Just by pure chance, where she landed she had cell phone service, which is very rare for the area . . . very surprising but bloody lucky for her.”
The woman had been wearing her seatbelt, Mr Dickson said.
“She phoned her boss to say that she had crashed the truck, and that she was stuck in it.
“She had a rough idea where she was, and then he phones 111 and sent other workers out looking for her.”
He said at the time of the crash the weather conditions had been “atrocious”.
“There was quite high winds and it was raining so that quite possibly contributed to the crash.
“But she’s okay, so that’s the main thing.”
Police and St John ambulance also staff attended the crash, as well as the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter.