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Farmer saved by personal locator beacon

Farmer saved by personal locator beacon

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 - 3:07pm


Palmerston North Police Search and Rescue were alerted by the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) yesterday evening (14 January, 2014) of beacon activation in the Pohangina Valley.

A 75-year-old farmer had been out the back of his farm rounding up stray sheep in steep gorgy terrain when he suffered a medical issue. 

He activated his beacon which was then reported to the RCCNZ who sent the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter into the area to try to locate him.

They then alerted SAR to provide teams as a back-up if the helicopter was not successful.

While the helicopter was able to locate the general area of the activation they could not pin-point exactly where the signal was coming from due to the steep terrain and dense bush.

A SAR volunteer went onto the area with a hand-held direction finder and located him 100m down in a creek at the bottom of the gorge.

He was treated and winched into the helicopter for transport to hospital.  

Had he not been found when he was, his situation could have become very dire.

This is yet another example of how useful personal locator beacons can be when working in the outdoors.  If he had not had the beacon and activated it in his life threatening situation it might have been hours before he was reported missing and the task of searching for him in the dark and difficult terrain would have been extremely problematic.

Police want to stress how valuable a personal locator beacon can be for all types of outdoor activities, be it at work on a farm, recreational activities in the bush or hills, and at sea.

Andy Brooke – O/C Palmerston North Police SAR


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