17 Nov 2014

Call for crotch straps in helicopters

5:43 pm on 17 November 2014

A coroner has recommended that rescue helicopters carry crotch straps after a man fell 3-5m while being rescued at sea.

Charles Gallagher, 52, died from intoxication and drowning after a wave swept him from his yacht in rough conditions in Cook Strait last year.

Coroner CJ Devonport's report said one of Mr Gallagher's two sailing companions, Josephine Ivory, tried unsuccessfully to get him back on board using ropes, winches and life rings.

After about 30 minutes, Ms Ivory made a mayday call and a Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived 40 minutes later.

While Mr Gallagher was being winched up the paramedic noticed that he was not breathing. The paramedic could not get him through the helicopter door and he ended up slipping and falling into the sea.

A Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesperson said it did not know how many of its helicopters carried crotch straps.