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Busy week for LandSAR in Central North Island

Busy week for LandSAR in Central North Island

Police want to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of LandSAR volunteers after a busy few days that have seen plenty of search and rescue action around the Central Plateau.

Last Sunday Taupo Police and LandSAR volunteers responded to a report of a missing teenage pig hunter in the Kaingaroa Forest. The young man and his older brother were camped on the eastern boundary of the forest for a few days hunting over Easter. They separated while hunting on Saturday, but when the 16-year-old had not come back to camp by midday Sunday he was reported missing. The alarm was short-lived however because he was found by searchers just before dark on Sunday. Apart from being a bit hungry and tired, he and his two dogs were none the worse for wear. After discussion with Police and Forest Security, the two men headed to Rotorua, then back to their home in Kaukapakapa on Monday.

The action continued on Tuesday this week with a report of two Belgian tourists lost on Mt Tauhara near Taupo. The two men in their early 20s lost the track while descending the mountain, then ran out of daylight. They called Police who were then able to pinpoint their whereabouts using their smartphone. A four-person LandSAR team from Taupo was dispatched to escort them back to the car park. The event was relatively simple but dense bush and rain momentarily challenged efforts to find them. They were subsequently escorted down the mountain without further incident.

Immediately after that concluded, Police and Turangi LandSAR volunteers responded to the Ketetahi end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, to search for a 68-year-old Chinese man who had not arrived at the car park as planned. Two LandSAR volunteers found the man just after 11pm, about 3km from the end of the track. He was sitting in the pitch dark, very wet and cold. After supplying him with food, hot drink and dry clothes he was brought out to the car park, arriving there just before 1am.

On Wednesday afternoon Taupo and National Park police received calls from a young German man stuck on ice near Te Heuheu Peak on Mt Ruapehu. A local helicopter and a LandSAR RARO (Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation) Team flew to the peak, and rescued him. Strong wind and icy conditions made that rescue a little delicate, but the man was flown back to the Iwikau Village car park none the worse for wear.

Later on Wednesday night Taupo Police received a call from an Auckland man who was stuck on a steep bluff in bush near the Waiotaka River in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. The man was returning to camp after a day hunting when he became bluffed and could not move. He was in such a precarious position he activated his Personal Locator Beacon. The Taupo based Greenlea Rescue Helicopter was used to find him and fly LandSAR teams from Turangi and Taupo to the hunters camp. They negotiated their way down river and then climbed through bush to get to him. He was extracted from the bluff and walked back to his campsite to be reunited with his hunting companions by 2 o’clock this morning. Police have commended the hunter for carrying his PLB in the front pocket of his jacket. If he’d been carrying it in his backpack he would not have been able to activate it because of his precarious position.

Senior Constable Barry Shepherd said” “The contribution made by LandSAR volunteers at Taupo, Turangi and Mt Ruapehu this week has been outstanding. Their selfless efforts, day and night, regardless of the weather, are a credit to themselves and the LandSAR organisation, especially over this Easter and ANZAC period when a lot of people are on holiday enjoying themselves out in the backcountry.”


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