Avalanche rescue exercise improves skills

17:00, Jun 29 2012
Mt Hutt
TIME CRITICAL: LandSAR, police, heliski operators and skifield personnel took part in a large-scale avalanche rescue exercise near Mt Hutt yesterday.

About 50 potential rescuers are now better prepared to help anyone trapped by a back-country avalanche this winter.

Land Search and Rescue volunteers, police, heliski operators and skifield personnel took part in a large-scale avalanche rescue exercise near Mt Hutt yesterday that simulated several victims being fully or partly buried in an avalanche.

Police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Ryan O'Rourke said the exercise was the first opportunity for Canterbury's winter response group, formed in 2010, to test its avalanche response plans.

"Avalanches can strike almost anywhere and at any time during the winter, and in any avalanche, rescue time is critical," he said.

"A detailed response plan and good co-ordination between agencies could mean the difference between life and death for anyone caught up in an avalanche," O'Rourke said.

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