Kayakers rescued from Nugget Point rocks by helicopter

The Otago Rescue Helicopter airlifts an injured member of a sea kayak party at Nugget Point.
Richard Davison

The Otago Rescue Helicopter airlifts an injured member of a sea kayak party at Nugget Point.

A party of sea kayakers involved in a dramatic helicopter rescue at the Catlins' Nugget Point on Tuesday were apparently "experienced", police have said.

The all-female party from the Bay of Plenty, believed to be in their 40s and 50s, had set out to explore the Catlins coast on Tuesday morning, before a member of the party got into difficulties rounding local beauty spot Nugget Point.

A second member of the party then paddled ashore to tend to her companion, who had sustained cuts while running ashore, with the third member remaining offshore and contacting emergency services on her cellphone.

Members of the nearby Kaka Point Surf Life Saving Club and Catlins SAR were first on the scene, putting a life saver on shore to administer first aid.

Local police and fire services were also quickly in attendance after the call at 11.30am, with the Otago Rescue Helicopter arriving shortly afterwards.

The two stranded kayakers were airlifted from their position at the base of steep cliffs to the north of Nugget Point lighthouse before being assessed by medical staff at a cliff-top car park.

Both women were then taken by helicopter to Balclutha Hospital for further treatment.

Constable Rochelle Gordon, of Balclutha, said the party were experienced kayakers, but had got into trouble due to unfamiliarity with local conditions.

"They had all the necessary provisions in terms of food, warm clothing and safety gear, but being unfamiliar with the area have come unstuck around the Nuggets. They've done the right thing by contacting emergency services and thankfully it's good news in the end," she said.


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