Beacons make for busy Sunday for RCCNZ

An American tramper and an injured hunter have avoided potentially lengthy stays in the bush after activating locator beacons in two separate incidents this afternoon (Sunday, 3 April 2016).

In the first incident, a United States spot tracker device was activated by a party of two people on the Te Araroa track in the Richmond Ranges, Tasman district, at around 3.15pm.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) was notified of the activation by the International Emergency Response

Coordination Centre in Texas and directed the Nelson Rescue Helicopter to the scene.They found a party of two men, one with injuries to his arm and leg. He was flown to Nelson Hospital.

In a second incident, a jet-boater dropped two hunters up the Motu River, East of Opotiki, on Saturday, lending them his personal locator beacon (PLB) – which was activated by the men on Sunday afternoon, also shortly after 3pm.

The RCCNZ directed the Tauranga Rescue Helicopter to the area and found two hunters who had been lost for 24 hours.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Coordinator Greg Johnston said the incidents once again highlighted the worth of carrying emergency distress beacons if venturing off the beaten track.

“Without the beacons letting us know these people were in difficulty, it is unlikely that searches would have been started until tomorrow. That would have meant a long night in the bush with no guarantee that they would have been found quickly,” he said.

“The jet-boat driver has done exactly the right thing in lending these hunters his beacon. But really, an emergency distress beacon should be the first thing on your equipment list when planning trips like these.”

Beacons are required by law to be registered.