Lost hunter winched to safety

Last updated 16:59 22/01/2013

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Hawke's Bay

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A Hawke's Bay man was winched out of the Ruahine Ranges this morning after he became lost hunting in the bush.

The 28-year-old hunter set out on his quad bike from No Mans Hut, in the ranges, just before 5am. He parked his quad bike on the road and headed into the bush on foot. About five hours later the man realised he had lost the marked track and did not know where he was.

Wearing light clothing only and with just a muesli bar and half a bottle of water, the disoriented man called police about 9.45am.

Inspector Mike O'Leary of Hawke's Bay police said calls between the man and police were lost several times because of intermittent cellphone coverage. This delayed the man's rescue.

The Lowe Corporation helicopter spotted the hunter from the air and winched him out of the northern ranges. He was fit and well when rescued.

Mr O'Leary said the rescue would not have happened if the man had been better prepared.

The hunter left his GPS at the hut, thinking he was only going for a quick shoot, and he had no map of the area.

Mr O'Leary said the hunter should have taken warmer clothes, more food and water and a portable locator beacon with him. Cellphones should never be relied on solely as a means of communicating distress, Mr O'Leary said.

''Our advice is to equip yourself properly with all the necessary items which will hopefully prevent the need for a rescue in the first place.''

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- The Dominion Post

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