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Police warn trampers to be prepared before heading into bush

Police are warning trampers to be prepared, well-equipped and sensible when it comes to heading into the outdoors at this time of the year, following a search which concluded yesterday afternoon. Search and Rescue Coordinator Sergeant Peter Rix of Masterton Police says on Tuesday 26 April, Police became concerned about the whereabouts and safety of a 24 year old man who had reportedly set out with his mountain bike intending to make a southern crossing of the Tararua Mountain Range. “On Wednesday, the missing man made contact with us via cellphone. He was in a distressed and hypothermic state, uncertain of his exact location. Due to extremely bad weather conditions, rescuers were unable to be flown to where they suspected the man might be, instead being dropped off in a riverbed some hours away.” Sergeant Rix says a team of two Police and two Land Search and Rescue (Land SAR) volunteers located the missing man extremely cold and tired, having spent one night in the open and without any food for forty hours. After assessing his condition he was helped to the closest hut where he and the rescuers spent the night before being flown out yesterday afternoon. “This search highlights the need for trampers to be well prepared and equipped for the conditions. This man’s gear was barely adequate for the conditions, setting out when a severe southerly storm had been forecast.” “It was extremely lucky that this search has had a happy ending. Given the weather conditions and his state when rescued, the situation could have been much different if the rescue crew didn’t get to him as quickly as they did.” Sergeant Rix says whilst the man had made some good decisions once he had become lost, better planning, research, and equipment would have avoided the need for such a difficult and costly rescue.

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