Please attribute to Wairarapa Acting Sergeant Richard Butler:
After several hours huddled in the cold, a couple has been rescued off the ridgeline on Mount Holdsworth.
A Land Search and Rescue team located the pair late on Saturday, around seven hours after the initial alarm was raised.
The couple had planned to walk from Holdsworth Road to Atiwhakatu Hut and on to Jumbo Hut for the night.
However, one wrong turn took them up the East Holdsworth Track and close to the ridgeline.
After realising their mistake the couple attempted to reroute to Powell Hut, but were met with extreme weather conditions and were blown off their feet several times.
At around 4:15pm they decided to hunker down and call Police.
A helicopter was considered, but high winds meant it could not be deployed.
A team of three LandSAR members successfully located the pair at around 11pm, and managed to get them to Powell Hut where they spent the night before safely escorting them down to the road on Sunday morning.
The pair were fortunate to have had cellphone coverage, but people should never rely on cellphones solely as their means of communication.
A quality Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) can be purchased for under $500 which will last up to 10 years, that’s $50 a year to potentially save your life, alternatively you can hire them from various trusts for the price of a box of beer.
A distress beacon lets you instantly signal for help and they work almost anywhere in the world.
The beacon shows rescuers your approximate location, taking the ‘search’ out of search and rescue.
The sooner rescuers can help you, the more likely you are to survive.
Police encourage trampers to always be prepared and take sufficient clothing and equipment for an unplanned overnight stay.
It’s highly likely the couple would have become hypothermic overnight, had they not been located by LandSAR staff.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand works 24/7, 365 days of the year responding to all distress beacon activations.
The team acts quickly to find out as many details as they can about who set off the distress beacon and promptly send search and rescue teams to assist when an alert comes in.
People heading into the mountains should seek information from the Department of Conversation (DOC) visitor centres or via the DOC website.
It can give you detailed information about weather forecasts, track issues and conditions.
Issued by Police Media Centre