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.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news