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Home arrow Human Interest arrow Local arrow Long road to recovery for injured coastguard volunteers
Long road to recovery for injured coastguard volunteers PDF Print
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Human Interest - Local
Written by Kristin Edge, The Northern Advocate   
Thursday, 12 March 2009

The damaged boat at Tutukaka marina. Picture/Michael Cunningham

A Northland volunteer coastguard member is blind in one eye and facing up to two years of treatment, including facial reconstruction, after he was injured en route to help a distressed vessel off the coast.

Mike Podesta was on a team of five aboard the Dive! Tutukaka rescue boat that struck rocks in rough weather conditions about 6pm last Wednesday.

A second injured man, Collin Brickell, was scheduled to have surgery yesterday on his palate, which shattered when he was sent sprawling as the boat hit rocks off Pataua South.

The rescue boat was travelling about 10 knots in pitch black seas and 40-knot winds.

Both these guys are now on a long road to recovery.

All five volunteers were airlifted off the rescue boat, with the two badly injured men being flown to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.

Tutukaka Coastguard chairman John Glaze confirmed Mr Podesta had surgery on his eye, but still lost his sight. "Both these guys are now on a long road to recovery," Mr Glaze said.

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