Tuesday, 16 November 2004 - 11:00am |
Auckland City

Police Call Centre staff facilitate difficult rescue

2 min read

A 17 year old Chinese teenager called 111 from his mobile phone just after midnight to say his car had crashed down a bank and he and his passenger needed help.

The driver told Police Northern Communication Centre staff that they were trapped in their car, that had gone over a 20 metre bank and it was now teetering on the edge of a steep cliff.

The caller did not know where he was. He said that all he could see around him were trees. He had left Henderson about 15 minutes before the crash, but did not know which direction or what road he had taken.

Police kept the driver talking on the phone, and by using the computer mapping system, and the drivers description of the road and landscape he remembered passing prior to the crash, police were able to place the crash site in an area in the foothills of the Waitakere ranges.

A patrol car was immediately dispatched to the area and instructed to sound its siren. The driver eventually said he could hear the siren, and the dispatcher directed the patrol car to the scene, using the loudness of the siren reported by the driver as a guide.

The crashed car was invisible from the road, and the patrol car initially drove past the crash site in Mountain Road without seeing it. The dispatcher was able to direct the patrol back to the site when the trapped driver reported the siren noise had gone past.

It only took Police 20 minutes to locate the car and the occupants were relatively uninjured, but due to the difficulty of access, and the precarious position of the car the Fire Service’s high angle rescue team were called in to assist.

They were finally rescued from the car and assisted up the cliff by the Fire Service 2 & ½ hours later.

The passenger was treated for a bump on the head. The car could not be recovered.

"The occupants of the car were extremely lucky that they were found when they were, as their cell-phone battery ran out just as the Police car located them", said Police Northern Communications Inspector, Andrew Brill.

"Without communication, it could have been a very long time before they were found".

Issued by:

Andi DevlinPolice 111 Call Centre(09)-571-28510275-322-151