Christmas beacon saves day for cyclists

A distress beacon received as a gift for Christmas saved two cyclists lost in Pureora Forest Park near Taupo from a second night in the open when it was activated late yesterday afternoon.

The Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) received the beacon activation at around 5.15pm and the Greenlea rescue helicopter from Taupo was directed to the scene where it found two cyclists who had departed camp at Piropiro Flats at lunch time on Wednesday.

“One of the riders had received the beacon for Christmas so it obviously was a gift that kept giving,” RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator John Ashby said. “The couple had ridden the forest tracks in the past, but this time they got completely lost.”

After a night in the forest, in relatively mild weather conditions, they were still unable to find their way back to camp and so set off the beacon. They were found quickly, and uninjured, and flown back to their vehicle shortly after 7pm.

Unfortunately they hadn’t had time to register the new beacon, a legal requirement, which would have provided access to an emergency contact who could have provided further information on the pair and their intentions.

Beacon registration is free at