Young entrepreneurs' budding business venture on slippery slope

By Lynda van Kempen

After their rescue, Harvey Brown (left) and Carter Pearson display the 'treasures' they gathered earlier. Photos / Lynda van Kempen, ODT
After their rescue, Harvey Brown (left) and Carter Pearson display the 'treasures' they gathered earlier. Photos / Lynda van Kempen, ODT

The first business venture for two young entrepreneurs turned into more of an adventure when they had to be rescued from a 45m cliff at Bannockburn while gathering stock for their budding business.

Nine-year-old friends Carter Pearson and Harvey Brown cycled 7km into Bannockburn from their Cromwell homes yesterday morning on a mission to find quartz crystals to sell.

Their outing was successful when they unearthed many crystals, rocks and fossils but their day took an unexpected turn when Harvey slipped several metres down a clay bank and Carter went to his aid.

"I tried to be Superman and save him but I slipped as well,'' Carter said.

Both boys ended up on a narrow ledge above a sheer drop.

Jessie Dickie was walking around the Bannockburn inlet in Cairnmuir Rd and saw the boys' bikes by the road then heard the boys talking.

"There was something about the tone that made me feel a bit uneasy and then I spotted them up on the cliff face,'' she said.

After confirming they needed help, the boys gave her their parents' phone numbers and she contacted Carter's father, Stu, suggesting he "bring a rope'' with him.

She kept talking to the boys and told them to stay where they were.

"One of the things I said was 'it must be a good view up there'. 'Yeah, it is, but pretty scary', one of them replied.''

"The boys were amazing really, very calm, which was good and they didn't move at all,'' she said.

Mr Pearson soon arrived.

"I climbed up above them, working out how to get to them with a rope but decided it was too risky, so rang the fire brigade,'' he said.

The Cromwell Volunteer Fire Brigade responded with its eight-strong line rescue crew.

Chief Fire Officer Steve Shaw said it was a challenging rescue but all went well.

The clay bank was wet and soggy with loose soil.

"It is a free drop from the ledge down, more or less, so they were very lucky ... extremely lucky,'' Mr Shaw said.

"The kids stayed put and were nice and calm. They did really well, actually, because they could've been quite upset but they just sat there and hung in there, so it was good.''

The boys were lifted to safety, one at a time, watched by their families.

Carter's mother, Theresa Pearson, said the boys were "real outdoors kids''.

They planned the mission as they knew there were crystals in that area and they wanted to set up a business venture, calling it "Brown Pear'' after themselves, and sell the crystals.

"They even had a business plan worked out.

"At least they weren't out hunting Pokemon,'' she said.

The boys were excited about their expedition and carried small shovels and a container for the crystals.

"You want them to be out and about, exploring and that's what they were doing.''

"You can't just wrap them up in cotton wool,'' Mrs Pearson said.

The intrepid duo were a little subdued after being checked over by ambulance staff but were unharmed by their adventure. Carter was keen to display the items the boys had gathered on their trip.

Mr Pearson said his son was keen on science and had an eclectic collection of treasures at home: "volcanic rock, gold, bones, you name it ... ''

Carter had already put his order in for Christmas.

"He doesn't want a PlayStation. He wants a 3-D printer,'' Mr Pearson said.

- Otago Daily Times

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