In another case of a cellphone's light guiding rescuers, a German tourist was saved from a cold, lonely night on top of a steep bluff on the West Coast after he got lost.
Bastian Gulstorf, 25, was poorly equipped when he set out yesterday afternoon and when he had not returned by nightfall, Charleston residents mounted their own search and then called in police.
West Coast police search and rescue co-ordinator, Sergeant Sean Judd, said it was just lucky the tourist had his cellphone with him, and "a pure stroke of luck" that the bluff he was trapped on was one of the few places in the area that had cellphone coverage.
While Mr Gulstorf was talking to police on his phone, a patrol car nearby activated its lights and sirens, which he was able to see.
He relayed that back to police, which enabled searchers to pinpoint his location.
A Westport land search and rescue team was dispatched but due to the thick bush and difficult terrain, they were unable to reach him, and so the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter was called in, and with the use of night vision equipment, winched him to safety about 2 o'clock this morning.
Helicopter pilot Martin Shaw said he could see the light from the man's cellphone through his night vision goggles.
"Mr Gulstorf was not equipped with any extra clothing or food and was not prepared to spend a night out. He was cold and tired but did not require any medical attention," Mr Judd said.
"Once again, the basic rules were ignored with an all too familiar result. Knowing the outdoor code is essential for anyone heading into the outdoors, be it for several days or just a short afternoon walk."
On Saturday, the light from an injured paraglider's cellphone helped rescuers find him after a launch off Mt Hutt went wrong.By Viv Logie of the Greymouth Star