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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