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Taking The Search Out Of Search And Rescue

Taking The Search Out Of Search And Rescue

7 April 2014
Immediate Release

Setting up a remote orienteering course with a friend, Jill Clendon stepped forward to place a marker on a small bush. Initially she thought she would drop perhaps a few centimetres as often happens when travelling in rocky terrain, but she didn't.

Jill dropped 5 metres straight down into a cavern, tumbled a further 4 metres and then dropped another metre and a half to the bottom.

Conscious but stunned, she checked herself for any injuries, nothing was broken but she could feel blood on her head and leg. She was carrying a first aid kit, spare thermal top, hat, jacket, survival blanket, head torch and her ACR Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).

She yelled up for her friend above but couldn't initially hear her so she reached into her pack and found her PLB and activated it.

By this stage Jill’s friend (who did not have a beacon on her) had realised what had happened and called out that she was on the way for help. Once she was able to contact emergency services some time later, they had already picked up Jill’s beacon signal and help was on the way. After 4 hours in the bottom of the cave, a rescue team member was lowered down to Jill, helped her put on a harness and was assisted to the top.

“The beacon enabled rescue teams to find me immediately and get me out. I was lucky my only injuries were severe bruising, cuts, scrapes and stitches to my knee. I was amazed that the beacon was picked up so rapidly despite being out of direct line of sight of the opening and so far underground. What an amazing piece of equipment and I was so glad I had it,” says Jill.

Last year in New Zealand there were 131 PLB activations with people requiring assistance from rescue services and Jill is just one of a growing number of people choosing to equip themselves with an ACR Personal Locator Beacon.

Tim Ritchie, Sales and Marketing Manager of Hutchwilco, the New Zealand ACR distributor says Jill’s story highlights the importance of taking precautions and that a PLB is now a must for a wide variety of outdoor activities.

“A PLB such as the ACR device that Jill had takes the search out of search and rescue,” says Ritchie.

“New Zealander’s are always in the outdoors whether it be for work or for pleasure. A PLB can be a great addition to anyone’s gear bag on their next excursion, whether they’re boating, hunting, tramping, hiking, mountain biking. There are also countless applications for professionals such as forestry workers, farmers, line workers – anyone who works remotely.”

“We all have mobile phones, but in many cases reception can be patchy at best and finding a good signal or the nearest help can be some distance away. In the cases of moderate to serious injury, time is critical.”

“As was demonstrated with Jill’s accident, search and rescue services were aware of her situation well before her friend had reached help.”

Available in floating and non floating versions, the ACR ResQLink 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon is small and light enough to hold comfortably in one hand yet powerful enough to guide rescuers to within 100 meters or less of your position in a life-threatening emergency.

At just 130g and 10cm tall, the ResQLink offers a lot of punch in a very small and extremely light package.

With three levels of integrated signal technology GPS positioning, a powerful 406 MHz signal, and 121.5MHz homing capability, the ResQLink quickly and accurately relays critical emergency position to a global network of rescue satellites.

The waterproof ResQLink broadcasts a unique registered distress signal that not only tells rescuers where the sender is, but who they are. The onboard 66 channel GPS can quickly fix the sender's position to within 100 meters and then utilizes a powerful 406 MHz signal to relay the distress call to orbiting satellites. As local Search and Rescue is deployed, a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light guide rescuers to the sender's exact position.

Two built-in tests allow users to routinely verify that the ResQLink is functioning and ready for use-with the push of a button, users can easily test internal electronics and GPS functionality.

“A PLB is a satellite-signalling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted and where the situation is deemed to be grave and imminent, and the loss of life, limb, eyesight or valuable property will occur without assistance. All beacons must be registered. There are no monthly service fees required for 406 MHz beacons.”

“What’s more, they are available for under $600, compare that to a popular smart phone which are around $1000, a PLB is a must for anyone venturing into the outdoors.”

“When you’re heading into the outdoors, a PLB gives you and your loved ones peace of mind - you’ll never consider it, until it’s too late.”

The ACR ResQLink has a suggested retail of $599.

Just in time for the hunting season, between now and June when consumers purchase an ACR ResQLink or ResQLink+ PLB from an authorised New Zealand ACR retailer, they will get $50.00 cash back. Details in store or for your nearest retailer visit:


About Hutchwilco
Hutchwilco Limited is a proudly New Zealand owned and operated manufacturer and distributor of quality Marine Safety Equipment, recreational and performance Watersports Products and nationwide agents for industry leading brands such as ACR, PAINS WESSEX & ZODIAC.

About ACR
ACR/Artex (ACR Electronics, Inc.) is the leading development centre for emergency beacons that are designed with one purpose in mind: Saving Lives. Through our combined technology expertise in the marine, aviation, outdoor and military markets, we design and manufacture cutting edge rescue beacons and survival gear for boaters, pilots, hunters, hikers and combat troops, not to mention many of the leading boat builders and aircraft manufacturers in the industry.

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