By Emily Norman
An 18-year-old Carterton man was rescued by helicopter after flash flooding in Carterton swept his vehicle down a raging stream.
The man, who asked not to be named, was out with some friends four wheel driving at Mount Dick near the Carterton Water Supply in Dalefield on Saturday.
The group were crossing back across the Kaipatangata Stream in three vehicles just before 3pm when the last vehicle’s 4WD function failed to engage.
The man said he was the sole occupant of that vehicle and the stream was rapidly rising.
“I was probably stuck in the river in the car for about 10 minutes before I realised I wasn’t going to be able to get out.
“The towing efforts failed and the only part we could get on was the nudge bar which got ripped off.
“I thought, bugger, I’m going to have to get out because there’s nothing else I can do.”
The man had no signal and was stranded on the opposite side of the stream to his friends, according to Jason Diedrichs of Amalgamated Helicopters, who came to the rescue.
“He got back out onto the forest side of the river and then he couldn’t get back across to his friends,” Mr Diedrichs said.
“He had to walk down the other side but then he couldn’t get down so he walked up the track and eventually ended up on a clearing at the back of the forest which he was able to ring out and raise the alarm.
“He’d been there for three hours and was starting to get a bit wet and cold.
“That’s when we got asked to go and pick him up.”
Mr Diedrichs said the Carterton man was “pretty shaken up and a bit cold as well”.
“He’d been through a bit of an experience.”
The 4WD was written off, but the man said the vehicle was the least of his concerns.
“I knew it was going to be gone. I wasn’t really worried about it. I’d rather lose my wagon than my life.”
Anyone wanting to support local search and rescue can make a donation to Wairarapa Rescue Trust by calling trust member Sam Milligan on 027 4475072.