Two Lower Hutt firefighters have been honoured for their role in saving a woman from Australia's life while she was visiting New Zealand where her boyfriend intended to propose to her.
On September 6, 2017, Ally Maclachlan fell down a steep bank in Percy Park after tripping while trying to take a photo, and were rescued by senior firefighters Daniel Olliver and Scott Duganzich, Stuff reports.
Ms Maclachlan was the girlfriend of Mat Haines, who had travelled to New Zealand with her in the hopes of proposing.
Following her fall down the bank, Mr Olliver said although her fall was stopped by a largely rotten tree, when they arrived she was close to falling another 20 metres.
He had climbed up and secured her to himself, and was hit in the head by a rock while debris tumbled down.
"I was calling mayday, mayday get the helicopter out because I feared for my life," said Mr Olliver to Stuff.
Both firefighters shielded Ms Maclachlan to protect her from further injury.
"She was conscious and in pain with numb legs," Mr Oliver said.
A specialist rescue team arrived later and Ms Maclachlan was flown to Wellington Hospital in serious condition, with a fractured skull, spinal and hip injuries.
The couple has since been in contact with the firefighters to thank them for their rescue efforts.
They married in Australia in May and said it was the two firefighters that made it possible.
Mr Olliver and Mr Duganzich have received an award from Fire and Emergency Chairman Paul Swain for their bravery.