A 16-year-old Wanaka teenager who became separated from his
hunting party spent Wednesday night in the bush near the
Routeburn Track, having been lowered survival gear by a
rescue helicopter to make the night more comfortable.
Senior Constable Julian Cahill, of Queenstown, said the boy
did not make it back to the car with the rest of the hunting
party when night fell.
Although the boy did not have a torch, he had a cellphone
and, importantly, reception.
The group had been near Scotts Creek, near Glenorchy.
''He didn't have a torch so couldn't navigate his way down
through the bluffs,'' Snr Const Cahill said.
''He rang his dad who just happened to be a SAR [Search and
Rescue] volunteer in Wanaka.''
The boy's father called police, and because of the expected
low temperature on Wednesday night, the decision was made
''that we needed to help him''.
A rescue helicopter was sent out to the boy's location, which
was amid steep terrain, and pilots lowered equipment
including food, a torch and a bivvy bag.
The boy was located by the rescuers, who were aided by night
vision goggles, because of the light made by his cellphone.
''He was able to spend a comfortable night there instead of
doing star jumps through the night [to keep warm].''
The boy's own hunting party reached him at dawn and the group
made it out of the bush about 9.30am yesterday.