Injured tramper flown to hospital

A young Auckland woman was flown out of Nelson Lakes National Park yesterday afternoon after she activated a locator beacon.

The 26-year-old tramper had injured her knee on Wednesday while walking the Travers Saddle. A Department of Conservation resource described the saddle as an alpine pass requiring an ice axe and crampons well into spring, warning that trampers should be prepared for sudden weather changes.

The track from Upper Travers Hut to West Sabine Hut takes between six and nine hours.

When the woman switched on her beacon yesterday, the New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Wellington picked up its signal and tasked the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter to fly her out of West Sabine Hut. The helicopter's onboard intensive care paramedic Gary Tobin assessed her and she was taken to Nelson Hospital for further treatment.

Mr Tobin described the woman's actions as "common sense". He said she had done the right thing by waiting a few days at the hut to see whether her comparatively minor injury improved, but the helicopter was there to help her when it became apparent she would remain unable to walk out on her own.

"She was well kitted-out, she had everything she needed and people with her, but she still couldn't walk on [the knee] so it made sense to call us."

The Nelson Mail