A Baildon nurse has been praised for saving the life of an injured walker in remote bushland in New Zealand.
Simon Walker, 48, who emigrated to New Zealand with his family 18 months ago, found the man lying in a stream in the Waitakere Ranges on the country’s North Island.
Using his medical training, he was able to stabilise the man, who it emerged was suffering from severe hypothermia, and set off a personal locator beacon to alert a rescue helicopter.
“I was just out walking my dogs when I found a rucksack on the path,” said Mr Walker.
“I carried on for about 100 yards and when I reached a bridge I heard a strange noise.
!I looked down and saw what looked like a white log in the water, but then it moved. I then realised it was someone injured who was moaning.”
It appears the man had gone down to drink from the stream, but slipped and hit his head on rocks, knocking himself unconscious.
“I performed basic first aid and managed to get some sort of response, although he was completely disorientated,” said Mr Walker.
“I knew the guy was obviously quite ill, and severely hypothermic, so I knew he was in trouble if I couldn’t get him out of the water.”
After waiting almost an hour and a half until the helicopter arrived, Mr Walker used a signalling mirror to pinpoint his exact location in the dense bushland where there are no mobile phone signals.
Flight paramedics who examined the victim were adamant that Mr Walker had saved the man’s life.
But he modestly denied that he had been heroic.
“A hero to me is someone who puts themself at a huge risk – what I did was just automatic,” he said.
“He was certainly very lucky, but I was just in the right place at the right time to help.”
The news came as a shock to Mr Walker’s mum, Noeleen, and stepfather Ted Northard, of Flower Mount, Baildon, who knew nothing of their son’s actions until he brought press cuttings from the New Zealand Herald home in a surprise visit last week – the first time he and wife Trudi, and their two children, have visited since leaving the UK.
“We knew nothing about the rescue, but I am so proud of him,” said Mrs Northard.
“Ever since he was a lad he has been mad about the outdoors, and it was wonderful to read that he was able to help.
“It just added to the surprise of their visit, and we are over the moon.”