Andy's Big BreakNews 2001  SportsHome
The first weekend in March was a big one for Andy. With Kris and Chris, he had participated in a SAREX (search and rescue exercise) in Nettlebed Cave, Mt. Arthur. It was a large exercise involving most of New Zealand's caving community, with help from the army (who provided a helicopter for transport)  and police. The idea was to find 2 'lost' cavers, and rescue one caver with a broken arm.

The rescue exercise went smoothly, though the weather on Friday and Saturday was wet, and the whole thing was wound up on Sunday morning. The army Iroquois helicopter ferried everyone from the cave to the road-end, with Andy blissfully unaware that this would not be the last helicopter ride of the day!

The weather on Sunday was beautiful, so Andy Kris and Chris decided to join the final day of the Mousetrap Classic, a fun paragliding competition based around Takaka Hill. The wind was unfavourable for the usual  take off, though, so the east- facing take off was used. This is small (only big enough for one paraglider to take off at once) and had nasty rocks, and stumps of old pine trees below take off. The first flight of the day went well, but when Andy tried to take off in the afternoon, he dived a bit on take off, and connected with the top of a 3 metre tall, very hard dry pine stump. Sacrificing his leg, in preference to the family jewels, Andy managed a spiral fracture of the tibia. The guys at the competition helped get him up to the flat take off area, where a helicopter took him to Nelson Hospital for a cast.

Two days later, this was replaced by a pin at Wellington Hospital, but Andy was out of action for some time (humans healing much slower than animals!). Luckily, he was able to work by the time he got to England in May, and the healing process has been ongoing since then. At the time of writing, a little aching at the knee (where the pin was inserted) and occasional mild oedema (puffiness) of the ankle are the only remaining symptoms.

More details and photos....    (An article that appeared in Airborn - the NZ paragliding and hang gliding magazine
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