Beacons lead to quick rescues for trampers

Two trampers have been rescued without delay today thanks to beacons.

A 32-year-old German tramper was picked up by the Rotorua rescue helicopter after injuring his ankle while tramping inland from East Cape this morning.

This afternoon a 63-year-old Wellington man was rescued by the Wellington Westpac helicopter after suffering a cut to his head on a tramp from Kaitoke to Cone Hut in the Tararuas. He had borrowed a registered personal locator beacon for the tramp and details of the trip were obtained from his emergency contact.

After activating the beacon at 3pm, he was at Wellington Hospital within an hour.

It is a legal requirement to register beacons – this can be done for free at

The German man activated a spot tracking beacon, with the signal picked up by a coordination centre in the United States, and the position passed on to the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ.

The beacon was activated at around 11am this morning and the Rotorua rescue helicopter picked the man up at an isolated position about 30km north west of Ruatoria just before 2pm. He was taken to Whakatane hospital.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission controller Tracy Brickles said the man had suffered a what appeared to be an ankle sprain and was unable to continue.

“He was off the beaten track but very well equipped,” she said.

“The whole operation went smoothly and was completed within about three hours.”