Tuesday, 28 March 2023 - 10:35am

SAR op puts skills to the test

1 min read

News article photos (1 items)

Two members of the search and rescue team en route to the injured tramper.

A search and rescue operation sparked by the activation of a personal locator beacon deep in the Kaimanawa Ranges provided teams with a valuable opportunity to put their skills to the test.

Amid terrible weather, nine LandSAR members and a LandSAR dog headed into the bush to look for the man after being notified of the beacon activation by the Rescue Coordination Centre on Friday, 17 March.

Senior Constable Barry Shepherd of Taupo Police says the operation had its own challenges, particularly the poor weather which prevented helicopters from being used.

“It provided an opportunity for the volunteers to put their skills to use in a practical operation," he says. 

"While on this occasion there wasn’t so much of a searching element, the challenges included the conditions on the day as well as the distance to the patient – more than a day’s walk from the road.

“One team walked for eight hours but was unable to reach the hut because the stream was too high.”

Barry was one of two Police and three LandSAR volunteers who formed the Incident Management Team (IMT).

Teams spent a wet night in the bush before the weather cleared the next day, allowing helicopters in to rescue the injured man and transport searchers out.

“Personal Locator Beacons are always useful, but it’s important they’re used alongside good decision making, such as hiking to the conditions and knowing your limits,” says Barry.

The man was transported to hospital with broken ribs.