Nick of time

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A rookie cop who held a man’s stomach together while waiting for ambulance staff to arrive last month has been credited for helping save his life.

Detective senior sergeant Malcolm Inglis says Constable Lucy Jonas – who only graduated from Police College about six months ago – “did a fantastic job rendering first aid” to a man who was allegedly stabbed by Jack James Harrington, 20, early on August 18.

Jonas, fellow rookie constable Max Freer, who’d only been on the beat about two months, and experienced sergeant Tracy Haggart were called to the corner of Camp and Beach streets by ambulance comms at 2.27am to reports of a “serious assault, potential stabbing”.

Inglis: “They found a bit of carnage, obviously.”

In the middle of the street lay a man in his late 20s with critical injuries.

He was with a group of others from Wellington on the first day of a week-long ski trip.

“One person with serious stab wounds … intestines hanging out and stuff.

“He was pretty badly injured.”

Inglis says Jonas didn’t hesitate to step in and do what she could to help the man.

“Their first priority is … saving life.

“Their main priority was rendering assistance to the victim, but also keeping control of the situation as best they could.”

Nearby security staff also leapt into action to help the police, trying to “calm things down” and stop the fracas.

“They stepped outside their duty to assist police and assist in trying to …. protect people, really,” Inglis says.

Jonas provided potentially life-saving help to the man while waiting for St John Ambulance to arrive.

And, in an almost unbelievable twist of fate, an intensive care paramedic team was already at Lakes District Hospital when the job was called in.

Taieri-based Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter Service chief pilot Graeme Gale was already in Queenstown with the highly-skilled crew on another job.

He was refuelling when a call came in for Air One Queenstown to do an urgent transfer to Dunedin with the first man.

“By the time they brought the patient out from the centre of Queenstown to the helicopter, the crew was all there waiting to receive that patient.

“You couldn’t speed that job up if you tried.

“That was as slick as what you could ever wish to get it.”

They were still working to stabilise that man when a second call came in.

Inglis says not long after the Camp St incident police were told about a second man “at home and bleeding”.

He’d also allegedly been stabbed during the confrontation, but didn’t realise and hopped in a taxi.

“He didn’t know he’d been stabbed, not till the taxi driver said ‘you’re bleeding everywhere’.”

Once he’d been dropped off he rang his mate to tell him what happened.

Long-time cop, acting sergeant Dan Andrew, working with constables Grace Allan and Regan Smith, boosted to the St Georges Ave house, “found him with …. serious stab wounds”, and provided first aid till the ambulance arrived.

Gale had already ordered another chopper from Dunedin to Queenstown, so when the second man arrived at the hospital it was less than 30 minutes before he was in the air.

Inglis: “This is where our rescue helicopter is such a great thing … they had them in Dunedin and in surgery within hours.”

Inglis says the second man’s making good progress, while the first is home but “it’s a slow road to recovery” for him.

As for the actions of the Queenstown police officers on August 18, Inglis says he’s proud of them – but it’s just part of the job.

“It’s what you put on a blue uniform for, really.

“That’s the thing about policing, you don’t know what’s going to happen day-to-day.

“I’m always proud when staff do good things and, 99 per cent of the time, they’re doing good things … but most of it goes unnoticed.”

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz