Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Beacons credited for rescue of hunters in Fiordland

A personal locator beacon. Photo / File / Warren Buckland
A personal locator beacon. Photo / File / Warren Buckland

Two stricken hunters' lives were probably saved in Fiordland after they used their locator beacons to call for help, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre says.

The men, brothers in a hunting party, were involved in two separate incidents in George Sound in the last week.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission controller Geoff Lunt said a beacon was activated by the three-person hunting group last Thursday, when one of the men fell and suffered a suspected broken leg.

The centre alerted the Southern Lakes rescue helicopter and flew the man to the Te Anau Medical Centre.

The remaining two members of the party continued with their trip, but were camping separately when the beacon was activated for the second time about 5am today.

The rescue helicopter again flew to the area and found one of the men hypothermic after his campsite was flooded overnight by a metre of water. The man, believed to be the brother of the hunter rescued last week, was taken to Te Anau for treatment.

The remaining member of the party has arranged a helicopter pick-up for later this morning.

Mr Lunt said that activation again "proved the worth of the personal locator beacons".

"For the second time on a single trip, this beacon has led to a positive outcome for what could have been a very serious situation," he said.

"There is no question that beacons save time in search and rescue operations and that can mean saving lives."

In a separate incident, two hunters in the Haast Pass area activated their beacons about 6pm yesterday after one man become separated and fired a series of shots to raise the alarm.

The Aspiring Rescue Helicopter found one of the men at the Franklin Hut but was unable to reach the second man due to bad weather.

He was located stuck on a bluff, and cold and wet, but otherwise uninjured, this morning and returned to the hut, Mr Lunt said.

- APNZ

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