Beacon leads chopper to trampers

A 67-year-old seasoned tramper who badly injured his ankle was able to be located in dense bush in Mt Richmond Forest Park thanks to his safety equipment.

Three trampers in their late 60s, from Christchurch and Nelson, were three hours into their tramp in the Gordon Ranges-Red Hills area when one of the men lost his footing in steep terrain yesterday.

The party activated a personal locator beacon about 3pm.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter searched for the men, but due to the dense nature of the country it was some time before they were located northwest of the Hunters Hut area, base manager and pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford said.

It was "pretty aggressive" terrain, he said.

The use of the beacon saved a lot of time and helicopter resources, he said. It could sometimes take searchers days to locate people in the bush.

"They are fantastic. We would have otherwise really struggled to find them."

It was always better for trampers to be over-prepared than under-prepared, he said.

A paramedic was winched down to treat the injured man, who was from Christchurch, before the trampers were winched on board the helicopter and flown out about 7pm. The injured man was flown to Nelson Hospital for further treatment. He was in a comfortable condition there today.

Meanwhile, a pig hunter set off a personal locator beacon last night after falling and injuring his back.

He was one of two 18-year-olds who found themselves "a long way from civilisation" in the Clarence River area, near Kaikoura, at 11pm, a rescue helicopter spokesperson said.

The helicopter's crew used night vision goggles to locate the pair before the teenager was flown to Blenheim's Wairau Hospital. He was in a stable condition there today.

The Nelson Mail