Injured family rescued from Ruahine ranges

Injured family rescued from Ruahine ranges


A father and his two sons have been rescued from the Ruahine ranges after an accident which left two of the three injured.

A 35-year-old man from Palmerston North and his two sons aged 10 and 12 who live in Feilding, were hunting yesterday afternoon and intending to stay the night in Forks Hut. During the afternoon the 12-year-old boy took a fall down a bluff suffering a head injury. As the boy's father and brother attempted to rescue the 12-year-old, the father suffered a gash to his leg and the group lost their bag containing supplies and their GPS.

Conditions overnight were cold, wet and windy so the family made a shelter to rest, and this morning they walked uphill until they were able to get a cell phone signal to contact a relative, who in turn contacted the police. This was around 10.20 this morning.

The wind had dropped this morning but visibility was poor to around 500m. The Helipro helicopter from Palmerston North was dispatched to search the area ahead of the rescue helicopter flying from Hawkes Bay with a medic on board. Four search and rescue teams were also put on standby.

Just after midday the Helipro located the family in a bush area around 700 metres from Forks Hut. The 12-year-old boy was conscious and alert but had suffered nausea and dizziness since the fall. He had lacerations to his head and arm and a possible broken arm. The father had a laceration to his leg but was able to walk unaided. All three were suffering from the effects of the cold.

A medic attended to them at the location before they were winched out and airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital.

Police want to take the opportunity top again push the importance of carrying 406 Mhz personal locator beacons as a means of early alert to rescue agencies when responding to such incidents. This would have alerted the Rescue Coordination Centre and Police to the family's plight last night.

The father and sons will not be named unless they choose to allow their identities to be released.

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.