21 Mar 2014

111 service 'fails' wasp-stung farmer

10:21 pm on 21 March 2014

A farmer in Taumarunu stung by wasps this week feared she might die when she couldn't get through on the 111 emergency line.

Sheep farmer Janet Kelland says it took more than 30 minutes to get through to an operator, only to be told that her address did not exist.

Ms Kelland said her ordeal began when she was investigating an electric fence fault on Monday morning. She disturbed a wasp nest and the insects swarmed and repeatedly attacked her.

After more than 30 minutes of trying on her mobile phone, Ms Kelland finally got through to an emergency operator.

An ambulance and helicopter were sent, despite the operator initially struggling to find the address even though it is in the White Pages.

Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson Katie Milne said the situation is not good enough, as under Telecom's Telecommunications Service Obligations it must answer 111 calls within 15 seconds.

Ms Milne said the cellular network performance at the time needs to be looked into and mapping software reviewed.

Telecom said on Friday it is investigating.