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Search and rescue river operation

Search and rescue river operation a timely reminder to all water users

Police are warning of the dangers of being ill-equipped for water adventures, after a group of young men sparked a large scale search and rescue operation last night.

Wellington Police District Operations Manager Inspector Mike Wright says a group of 10 men, aged in their late teens/early twenties set out from the Kaitoke Waterworks around 1pm yesterday afternoon on an expedition to the Hutt River Gorge.

"There was very little planning put into the trip and the group was ill-prepared, without lifejackets. Alcohol also appears to have been a factor."

Inspector Wright says the alarm was raised about 8pm last night, where a few members of the party became separated from the group after their flotation devices (lilos) deflated.

"A search and rescue operation then commenced, with the assistance of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. By 10:15pm last night, seven of the 10 members of the group had been located safely. The search resumed again at first light for the remaining three, who were located about 7:30am near the Te Marua Golf Course."

Inspector Wright says as summer approaches, water users must ensure that they are well-prepared with wetsuits and lifejackets and suitable flotation devices for any such water activities. Alcohol and water are a lethal cocktail and do not mix.

"We want people to stay safe this summer whilst enjoying the outdoors. A small amount of preparation can make the difference between returning home in one piece, or not at all."

Inspector Wright would like to thank the large number of organisations who assisted Police in the search including LandSAR volunteers, Upper Hutt Community Rescue and Palmerston North White Water Rescue.


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