Police are today continuing to praise the work of everybody involved in the search for trampers Dion Reynolds and Jessica O’Connor, as those involved in the successful rescue are reflecting on a job well done.
“It was an outstanding effort from a huge range of people and resources, and I can’t thank everybody enough,” says Nelson Bays Area Commander Inspector Paul Borrell.
The assistance of our colleagues at NZ Defence Force was invaluable, with their NH90 helicopter proving an essential tool in the search, complementing work done by other helicopters and ground crews.
The crew of over 50 people involved in the search were made up of Police staff, NZDF, Fire and Emergency NZ, Department of Conservation’s Aoraki/Mount Cook Search and Rescue team, the volunteers of LandSAR NZ, as well as other volunteers.
The 13 searchers and three dogs who remained in the area overnight were winched out today by the NH90 crew.
“This is tough, treacherous work, and often it can be to no avail,” says Search and Rescue Sergeant Malcolm York.
Sergeant York says it was a fantastic example of bringing in a wide range of expertise and working together.
“I’m really proud of the whole team and those who were in the bush are taking a well-deserved rest day today,” he says.
“We are so pleased to have been able to facilitate a successful outcome and bring Jess and Dion home.”
Their preparedness for the conditions and sensible decision-making no doubt helped them survive such a long time in rough terrain.
However, Sergeant York wanted to take the opportunity to remind people of the importance of a piece of equipment invaluable for trampers.
“A Personal Locator Beacon, or EPIRB, is an essential piece of equipment for anyone travelling out into the bush or mountains,” Sergeant York says.
“If you get into trouble, activating your PLB sends a GPS signal directly to the Rescue Co-ordination Centre, to enable rescue services to scramble quickly to your exact location.
Know your limitations and plan your trip around them, check the weather, leave intentions and an out-date with a trusted person, equip yourself for the trip and the environment you're heading into."
The Mountain Safety Council has some good advice on planning your trip.
Issued by the Police Media Centre.
Captions for photos:
Photo 1: Helicopter in the terrain.
Photo 2: Hole in the forest canopy where the whisp of smoke from the pair’s fire was seen. Crews headed in closer and smelled it as smoke. The down-draft from the helicopter’s rotor blades, in effect, parted the tree canopy to allow crews to see the pair on the forest floor some 50-feet below.
Photo 3: From above during the rescue.