Blenheim man rescued

Last updated 12:33 02/06/2014

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A Blenheim pensioner in trouble looking for a lost goldmine in California was saved by activating his New Zealand locator beacon.

The 85-year-old, who has not been named, was searching in California on Friday (NZ time) for a goldmine he had discovered as a teenager while working in a forestry crew.

His vehicle became stuck in the mud and he activated his New Zealand-registered personal locator beacon to call for help.

Mike Roberts, a senior search and rescue officer with New Zealand's Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said the beacon's signal was received about 9.30am on Friday.

"Because the beacon was registered we were able to quickly confirm with the man's emergency contact, his son, that he was in California, and contact the state's Office of Emergency Services in the United States who confirmed they had also picked up the beacon and were co-ordinating a response," Roberts said.

"We were able to confirm that the man was fit and active with no known medical condition, and all of this was passed to the Californian OES. Their rescue personnel located the man 31 kilometres east of Paradise, California, around 2pm.

"He was uninjured but his vehicle was firmly stuck in mud. They assisted in freeing it and we understand his search for gold has resumed."

The man's family had been advised of the successful search for him.

Roberts said the incident showed the benefit of carrying a registered beacon. "No matter where you are in the world, when a New Zealand-coded beacon is activated the signal will be picked up by both the RCCNZ and the rescue co-ordination agency in the region where the beacon is.

"As in this case, we work with the other agency to assist in the response - and because the beacon was registered we were able to provide useful information about the man." Fairfax NZ

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- The Marlborough Express

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