Overdue trampers frustrate rescuers

A group of overdue young trampers were found safe and well tonight but rescuers say its a reminder that locator beacons should be a must for all trampers.

Five young people left Otaki Forks in the Tararua ranges on Monday, intending to tramp to Penn Creek hut via Judd Ridge and return via the river on New Year’s day.

After failing to return as planned though, Palmerston North and Levin search and rescue teams, including paramedics and helicopter crews, were sent out to find the group.

The group were found drying out their gear in Penn Creek hut tonight after having to abort a river crossing and backtrack, staying another night in the hut.

Palmerston North police search and rescue spokesman Andy Brooke said the group were all well and in good spirits — but should have had a way to let families know they were okay.

‘‘While this situation was resolved fairly quickly and involved some very good decision making on the part of the group, it is a timely reminder to take at least two forms of communication with you when venturing into the outdoors.

‘‘A personal locator beacon would have alerted authorities that there was a problem at a certain location which could have reduced the search time.

‘‘A satellite communication device such as a SPOT or inReach would have enabled the group to advise their contacts that they were okay, but running late, and of their location.’’

Fairfax Media