The Wairarapa and Greater Wellington's Leading Commercial Helicopter Operator

SAR Report

RCCNZ received an alert for an unregistered PLB in position 40 43.87S 175 23.79E (17nm NW of Masterton). The Westpac Rescue helicopter was tasked to locate the beacon. They were later stood down when low cloud and severe winds hampered the progress. The Wairarapa Land SAR team has been tasked to assist. The LandSAR team searched the huts and surrounding area during the morning but could not locate the party. Information from another tramper advised that it could be a party of 4 people who were planning on floating down a creek. During the morning the NW wind was too strong to get a helicopter into the area. By late afternoon the wind had dropped sufficiently to get a local helicopter to go and try and assess the situation. The pilot found the party but could not reach them as they were in a very inaccessible steep gorge. The Westpac helicopter from Wellington was tasked with a winch to winch the party out. One of them had a very badly sprained ankle and was taken to Wellington Hospital; the others were taken to their cars. This incident was hampered by the fact that the beacon was not registered, therefore RCCNZ could not assess what the SAR teams and helicopters were looking for until visual contact was made.

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