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NZ beacon saves day in search for Californian gold mine

NZ beacon saves day in search for Californian gold mine

An 85-year-old Blenheim man searching in California for a gold mine he first discovered as a boy has been rescued after activating his New Zealand-registered personal locator beacon when his vehicle became stuck in the mud.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) Senior Search and Rescue Officer Mike Roberts said the beacon’s signal was received at around 9.30am this morning (NZ time).

“Because the beacon was registered we were able to quickly confirm with the man’s emergency contact, his son, that he was in California, and contact the State’s Office of Emergency Services in the United States who confirmed they had also picked up the beacon and were coordinating a response,” Mr Roberts said.

“We were able to confirm that the man was fit and active with no known medical condition, and all of this was passed to the Californian OES. Their rescue personnel located the man 31km east of Paradise, California, around 2pm. He was uninjured but his vehicle was firmly stuck in mud. They assisted in freeing it and we understand his search for gold has resumed.”

The man’s family have been advised of the successful search.

Mr Roberts said the incident showed the benefit of carrying a registered beacon.

“No matter where you are in the world, when a New Zealand-coded beacon is activated the signal will be picked up by both the RCCNZ and the rescue coordination agency in the region where the beacon is. As in this case, we work with the other agency to assist in the response – and because the beacon was registered we were able to provide useful information about the man.”

It is a legal requirement to register 406 MHz distress beacons – registration is free online at:


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