Locator beacon to the rescue

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 13/12/2013

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A locator beacon has saved three hunters who got into trouble in the Ruahine Range.

Search and Rescue officer Chris Henshaw, from the Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said the three men activated a personal locator beacon shortly after midnight yesterday.

The Palmerston North North Rescue Helicopter was sent to search for the men, with the crew using night vision goggles to find them near Billygoat Creek, near Woodville.

One man was spotted about 2 kilometres down river from the other two, who were seen sitting around a camp fire.

Unable to winch the men out at night, the helicopter returned for them after the sun came up, and the crew found the three men had managed to find each other again.

The were picked up at 7.40am, having stayed in the same place, Mr Henshaw said.

This was a good thing, he said, but a Land Search and Rescue team had been readied just in case they had started to walk out of the bush and needed help.

Mr Henshaw said he hadn't spoken to the men directly and it was unclear why they set off the beacon.

The helicopter pilot later said they were incapable of walking and were "looking quite bad" when they were picked up.

However, they chose to be dropped back at their waiting vehicles rather than be taken to hospital.

The beacon search is the second for the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in recent weeks, the other being a callout to a Dannevirke man who was injured in a quad bike crash on a farm southeast of Dannevirke on November 30.

He suffered injuries to his lower body when the bike rolled.

Mr Henshaw said anyone who was going into the bush, for any reason, should take a registered locator beacon.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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