Locator beacons prove their worth

Personal locator beacons have proved their worth after eight trampers have been rescued in four incidents over the last three days.

Yesterday, three people were rescued from beside the Wanganui River, near Harihari on the West Coast, after being stranded by flood waters, the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) said.

They activated their beacons at 4pm and the RCC sent the Westpac rescue helicopter from Christchurch to pick up the party.

Two of the party were suffering from frostbite and the third from suspected hyperthermia and had managed to reach Hunter's Hut near the Wanganui and Adams rivers. They were flown to Hokitika hospital about 5.30pm.

A solo woman tramper with a ruptured Achilles tendon tramping the Wangapeka Track on the Karamea River activated her beacon just before 5pm and was picked up by the Nelson rescue helicopter nearly two hours later and taken to Nelson hospital.

She was the fifth person rescued after activating a beacon on the Wangapeka Track.

On Thursday a party of three and a solo tramper were also rescued from the track after activating their own beacons.

"These incidents really show the value of personal locator beacons," RCC search and rescue coordinator Chris Henshaw said.

"Without beacons, these people would have been waiting a long time in uncomfortable conditions to be rescued."


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