Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Tramper slammed for apparent mis-use of beacon

8 February 2012 | TIME: 1.40pm

Tramper slammed for apparent mis-use of beacon

A tramper in south Westland who appears to have activated his personal locator beacon simply because he was running late and wanted a ride to his car wasted time, taxpayers’ money, and potentially put others at risk.

The man, in his 60s, was tramping in the headwaters of the Otoko River area, and activated his beacon at around 4.30pm yesterday (7 February). The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) tasked the Solid energy helicopter from Greymouth which located the man, only to find he was uninjured.

Maritime New Zealand’s General Manager of Rescue and Response Services, Nigel Clifford, said if the beacon activation was simply because the man was late, then it was entirely inappropriate, potentially dangerous, and a clear breach of the radio regulations that apply to emergency distress beacons.

“The incident tied up a helicopter for around two and a half hours, at a cost of around $10,000 to taxpayers, and more importantly meant that aircraft was unavailable for any other genuine emergency that may have arisen,” he said.

“Yesterday there were two other beacon activations – one by a tramper injured in the Olivine River area, near Glenorchy, and the other by a tramper who had fallen ill just north of Glentanner, near Lake Pukaki. Both these activations were by people who were debilitated and at risk – it was entirely appropriate that they activated their beacons.”

Radio regulations permit the use of emergency distress beacons by general users but are clear that the beacon should only be used in an emergency situation. There are penalties for the mis-use of beacons ranging from a formal warning, to an infringement notice penalty of $250, and prosecution, which carries a maximum fine of $30,000. The regulations are administered by Radio Spectrum Management, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Maritime New Zealand is considering what action to take with regard to this specific incident.

“We recommend everyone going tramping carry a beacon – and that they register their beacon,” Mr Clifford said. “While the decision to activate a beacon is one that only the person carrying it can make, depending on their circumstances, it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It is certainly not a taxi service.”

The tramper who activated his beacon in the Olivine River area near Glenorchy activated his beacon shortly before 7pm. the RCCNZ tasked Southern Lakes Helicopters to fly to the position, and found the man who was suffering from a stomach complaint and had not eaten in two days. He was flown to Te Anau.

The tramper in the Glentanner area near Lake Pukaki activated his hired beacon shortly before 10pm. Enquires with the hire company ascertained tramping in the area. The Mount Cook Department of Conservation search and rescue team located the man at 12.40am. He was suffering from a broken arm and was picked up by a Helicopter Line helicopter this morning and taken to Timaru.

Personal Locator Beacons should be registered, without charge, at the website: www.beacons.org.nz

Registration is a legal requirement and provides emergency contact information that can be extremely valuable in case of an emergency.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Midwives On Pay Equity: Historic Bill Of Rights Case For High Court

“We have been left with no choice.” That from Karen Guilliland, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives, as the organisation prepares to file a pay parity discrimination case on the basis of gender under the NZ Bill of Rights Act in the High Court. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Children’s Commission Report On CYF

Accusing the overworked and underfunded staff at Child, Youth and Family of a “dump and run culture of neglect” is the kind of luxury that a Children’s Commissioner can afford to indulge in from his own comfy perch in the bureaucracy. More>>

ALSO:

Mt Eden Prison: Serco Inquiry Extended

A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. More>>

ALSO:

Health And Safety: Late Addition Of National Security Provisions A Concern

The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its significant concerns at the last-minute addition to the Health and Safety Reform Bill of provisions for a closed material procedure for court proceedings where national security is involved. More>>

ALSO:

Rugby And Beer: World Cup Alcohol Bill Passes

ACT MP David Seymour’s Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Extended licensing hours during Rugby World Cup) Bill completed its third reading by 99 to 21... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news