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Search And Rescue Decisions Needed

Media Release
4 May 2004

Search And Rescue Decisions Needed

The Ministers of Police and Conservation need to act to reduce the number of search and rescue call outs, said New Zealand First conservation spokesperson, Edwin Perry.

“Two reports in yesterday’s paper should give them some ideas: one heading read Tramper found seriously injured and the other Rented locator beacon credited with saving life.

“The first report referred to an overseas tourist who fell while on a solo tramp and sustained a broken leg and a head injury, either of which could have been fatal. Fortunately she was reported missing by other trampers. The second item was about a New Zealander who hired a personal locator beacon on the advice of DoC staff and activated it when he got into difficulties in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park,” said Mr Perry.

“Nobody wants to discourage locals or tourists from enjoying the outdoors but Police and DoC staff should have the authority to stop those people who are clearly unprepared, especially overseas tourists who may have no idea of just how harsh the environment can be.

“Personal locator beacons are readily available and it should be compulsory for solo trampers to carry them and also to notify the Police of their intentions before heading off. This might go some way towards reducing the number of searches for people who get into trouble.

“Every call out involves dozens of volunteers as well as paid co-ordinators and it takes up hundreds of man hours and costs thousands of dollars.

“The slight loss of personal freedom is unfortunate but would be more than compensated by a reduction in the number of searches for people who are often the authors of their own misfortune,” said Mr Perry.

ENDS

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