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Police coordinate marine search and rescue exercise

Police coordinate marine search and rescue exercise

New Zealand Police will coordinate a major marine search and rescue exercise around Christchurch this weekend.

Exercise Canterbury Tawhiri 2011 will involve Coastguard units stationed at Lyttelton, Sumner and Kaiapoi along with the Coastguard Air Patrol, as well as Surf Lifesaving, LandSAR and Police search and rescue personnel. It will be coordinated from the Sumner Lifeboat base.

The exercise is held annually, and is a chance to test joint operations and the management and coordination of a large scale marine search operation.

Canterbury Police SAR Coordinator, Sergeant Ryan O'Rourke, says "Many of the marine operations we run are short duration rescues, which means we don't often get an opportunity to practice extended searching.

"This exercise means that we can bring together all the agencies that would be involved in a major operation and test our procedures and communications in a realistic way.

"The learning that comes from these weekends is very valuable and helps to ensure a higher level of readiness for real operations."

The scenario for the exercise is being kept confidential at this stage to make the exercise as realistic as possible for all participants.

The exercise name 'Tawhiri' was selected by Coastguard and is particularly appropriate to search and rescue. In Maori mythology Tawhiri is the god of weather, including thunder and lightning, wind, clouds and storms - often the conditions encountered on search and rescue operations.

ENDS

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