A Carterton farm worker was trapped beneath an overturned vehicle for up to 10 minutes with a badly broken leg before a workmate hauled him to safety yesterday.
Roselea manager Shaun Rose said farm worker Bill Goodin, who is in his 60s, had been driving a Polaris Ranger Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) while herding animals on the 550-cow Dorset Rd dairy farm at East Taratahi shortly before 9am yesterday.
He said one of the cows had bolted from the herd and Mr Goodin had chased and overtaken the animal before swerving sharply, overturning the $30,000 four-wheel vehicle.
"He turned at speed, flipped over and pinned his ankle," Mr Rose said.
"He was trapped underneath for five to 10 minutes, calling out. I'm not sure anyone could have heard him at first anyway, and he could have broken his leg in several places, it was just like jelly."
Mr Rose said the Department of Labour was investigating and had already visited the farm.
Mr Goodin, who had been taken to Wairarapa Hospital, was to undergo surgery on his leg.
Wairarapa hospital spokeswoman Jan McLaren said he had broken his leg and was in a stable condition.
Mr Rose said Mr Goodin had several years of experience driving the Polaris UTV and the farm had a perfect safety record before the incident, which reinforced the need to remain alert and cautious whenever operating farm vehicles.
He said the UTV is equipped with safety features, including seatbelts and a roll cage, although Mr Goodin was not wearing the belt when the machine toppled over.
"It's supposed to be the safest vehicle there is and, if Bill had been on a quad bike, things would probably have gone worse for him," Mr Rose said.
"I arrived at the scene about five minutes after all the drama and it was still quite a shock. It really highlights the fact that you can never be too confident and it's better to play it safe. There is no room for complacency.
"You really have to treat these machines with respect."
There were three quad bike accidents in three months on Wairarapa farms up to the end of December 2012, including the death of Kahutara School pupil Shane William White, 10, who was killed in a quad bike crash on a South Wairarapa farm on October 10.
A crash on November 20 involving a quad bike at a Pirinoa farm left a 24-year-old woman with ankle injuries, after her machine flipped while she was travelling at speed over flat terrain. And long-time farmer Ian Perry received broken ribs when he rolled a quad bike on his Tinui farm on December 27.
A 65-year-old Tinui farmer received serious head injuries after crashing a quad bike on his Rewa Rewa Rd property early last year.