Chris knows he is bloody lucky to be alive.
In March this year, Chris was the passenger in a vehicle being driven by an intoxicated driver – an error of judgement he regrets every day since the ill-fated evening.
After a few hours of socialising at a local pub in Matakana, Chris knew he had been drinking too much to drive home in his own vehicle so prepared himself for a night of slumber in his car – but at the last minute took up an offer from a mate to get a ride home with him. Something he admits “was not the best idea”.
Moments after leaving the bar at around midnight, the late-model ute was spinning through the air after the driver mistook a corner at speed. Within moments, Chris had been flung from the car and was lying, dying, on the road just mere centimetres from where the vehicle ended up. He had not been wearing his seatbelt, something he said “was another bad move that night.”
“I don’t remember anything from the crash for about two weeks. All I know is I woke up in intensive care and wondered what the hell had happened,” he says.
The rest of the events have been filled in by witnesses at the scene that night.
“I had a fractured skull, and I had lost a lot of blood on the road that night. Had that ute rolled one little bit more, I would have been a goner. My skull had been peeled back, scalped, and my right eye was damaged. I was unconscious and bleeding very heavily,” he says.
“The ambulance was called and then they called the Northland Rescue Chopper. They took a while to get me stabilised as I was so badly injured, and between the crash site and the hospital I apparently went into cardiac arrest eight times.”
In total, over all the episodes, Chris was without a heartbeat for 13 minutes.
“The medical team on the road that night, and in the helicopter, were amazing. The helicopter saved so much time, and really did save my life – it allowed me to get to Auckland Hospital so much faster.”
Months on, Chris can barely believe how much has healed since the crash.
“You wouldn’t think that I nearly died over and over again. I was in hospital for nearly three weeks and then recovering at home. Now, aside from a scar on my head, you wouldn’t know what I have been through,” he says.
“But one thing I do know, is that this accident has given me a whole new chance at life. Not many people get a second chance and I do – and that is largely in part to the Northland Rescue Helicopter.”