Danger hotspots over the holidays

Jessica Satherley
Danger hotspots over the holidays
A third of all missions within the Auckland/Coromandel area occur in The Coromandel Peninsula during summer

From rivers to roads to beaches and backyards, accidents can happen anywhere. 

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters perform 30% of their annual missions over the summer months, so REDnews spoke to the crew for advice on avoiding injury. 

“The hotspots are usually where all the people are going,” Intensive Care Paramedic in the Auckland/Coromandel region, Marcel Dreissen, says. 

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew outlined some of their most frequented rescue locations. 



A third of all annual Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter missions within the Coromandel area occur during summer.   

Some of the hot spots visited by the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter over summer include: 

Whangamata: Almost half of all annual missions to Whangamata occur in the summer.  

Awhitu Peninsula: Approximately 75% of all annual missions to Awhitu occur over summer.

Woodhill: Approximately half of all annual Woodhill missions occur over summer. 

Muriwai: This is the beach most-frequented by the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters in the Rodney District.  

Goat Island: The marine reserve is an increasingly popular summer hotspot with a growing number of Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter missions performed here in 2018. 


South Island 


In Canterbury, 20% of chopper missions during Christmas in 2017 and 2018 were motor vehicle accidents.  

Some of the most frequented danger spots for motor vehicle accidents in the region are Hurunui district, Lewis Pass, Banks Peninsula and Selwyn District. 



Common river accidents over the Christmas period include accidents caused by jet skiing, water skiing, jet boating, kayaking and off-roading. 

Canterbury rivers that see the majority of incidents over summer include Waimakariri River, Ashley River, Selwyn River, Clarence River, Rangitata River, Rakaia Gorge, Lake Lyndon, Lake Coleridge and Lake Tekapo. 



Drownings, diving accidents and boating accidents are all missions that the air rescue team are called out to in beach locations. 

Beaches and bays to watch out for in the Canterbury area include Taylors Mistake, Okains Bay, Port Levy, Gore Bay, Motunau, Akaroa and Little Akaloa. 


National parks 

Kiwis who are avid mountain bikers, hikers, climbers or para-gliders should take care over the Christmas period, where accidents are common. 

Alpine tracks, trails and national parks including Port Hills walking tracks, Christchurch Adventure Park, Arthur’s Pass and Mt Cook are all frequented by the air rescue team over summer. 


Paramedic Marcel Dreissen says, “Make sure that however you’re getting to your holiday spot, whether by car, boat, bike or by foot, your transport is well maintained and serviced.  

“If driving long distances, take plenty of breaks, rest and stay hydrated. 

“Make sure you’ve charged your phones, personal locator beacons, flares and torches. 

“If you’re on the water or fishing along the coastal areas, bring flotation devices, lifejackets and always have good situational awareness,” he says. 


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