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Beacon alert results in speedy rescue


TIME: 5.00PM

Beacon alert results in speedy rescue

Having a newly purchased and registered 406 Megahertz emergency beacon saved a Hastings man from a potentially lengthy and uncomfortable wait to be rescued after breaking a leg in an accident today.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) picked up the signal from the injured tramper’s Personal Locator Beacon (or PLB) near Waimarama Beach in the Hawke’s Bay around 3.15pm today, allowing it to accurately identify him as the registered owner within minutes of receiving the alert. At the same time as activating the beacon, the man was also able to phone 111 and a helicopter was sent to transport him to Hastings hospital, where he is now recovering.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Officer Dave Wilson said the incident highlighted the value of people carrying a registered 406 MHz variety emergency beacon, which had greatly assisted rescuers.

“For a few hundred dollars, a basic 406 Mhz emergency beacon is a pretty cheap form of life insurance, which could not only save your life but also a potentially lengthy delay in being rescued if you get into trouble. This is because 406 MHz emergency beacons can normally be detected within minutes of being activated and provides rescuers with the identify of the owner, and an accurate position very soon afterwards – unlike the older 121.5Mhz type of beacon, which is less reliable and is gradually being phased out.

“This is a classic case of the injured tramper doing everything right - not only by carrying a 406 MHz beacon in the first place - but also ensuring that his ownership details were up to date and registered with RCCNZ, which allowed us to respond very quickly to his situation,” Mr Wilson said.


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