NINE firefighters were assembled yesterday to safely lift a man who suffered a back injury from the bed of Whakatane’s Wairere Stream, where he had fallen while clearing vegetation with a chainsaw.
A resident in the apartment building next to the stream said he heard a bang then a cry for help.
Mike Allen said it was fortunate that two Whakatane District Council supervisors had just arrived to “see how the man was getting on” and were able to assist.
A cyclist with nursing experience also tended to the man, who was lying in the stream’s shallow water.
Whakatane volunteer firefighters placed him in a rescue stretcher and carried the 59-year-old up a steep bank to a waiting ambulance.
Council public affairs manager Ross Boreham said the man was a contractor’s employee.
“In the process of working his way along the embankment he stood on a large rock, which gave way underneath him.
“He fell into the stream, which, fortunately, was low at the time.”
Mr Boreham said the contractor would work with Worksafe to complete any formal investigation requirements but, as the ultimate employer, the council would also investigate the mishap so any learnings could be applied to enhance workplace safety.
The man was transported to Whakatane Hospital. A spokesman said he was stable.