Emergency services are frustrated with tired trampers who set
off their emergency beacons unnecessarily, at $5000 a pop.
On Tuesday, the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter was called to
the Nelson end of the Heaphy Track after four trampers set
off their emergency beacon.
But pilot Angus Taylor told the Greymouth Star the
trampers were not seriously hurt: "They were tired and one of
them had swollen and blistered feet."
Normally, the Nelson rescue helicopter would have been used,
but it was out on another job at the time.
Had something serious happened somewhere on the West Coast,
the helicopter was out of action, along with a St John
paramedic on board.
"We were away for about three hours and luckily nothing else
did happen, but that is not the point."
A number of trampers had been setting off their emergency
beacons lately because they were tired.
Those picked up on Tuesday were also in cellphone range and
should have dialled 111, he said.
"Then police would have told them that they did not warrant a
helicopter," Mr Taylor said.
- By Viv Logie of the Greymouth Star