Fiordland tramper saved thanks to rescue beacon

Fiordland tramper saved thanks to rescue beacon

For the second time this month, a tramper has become separated from his group and been left in the bush waiting for rescue.

A man was airlifted off the Hollyford Track in Fiordland National Park after activating a safety beacon. Experts say if he hadn't had the beacon he may not have been so lucky.

He fell ill and the rest of his tramping group left him alone to wait for help.

"When they left him I don't think that was quite right," says Southern Lakes Helicopters operations manager Lloyd Matheson. "It's about planning, and if we couldn't have got there it would have been best if someone stayed with him."

He activated a personal safety beacon, which helped local rescue groups find him easily. Mr Matheson says while that's encouraging, beacons and helicopter rescues are a backup plan, not a guarantee.

"Low cloud, all those all sorts of things, inhibit the rescue operation," says Mr Matheson. "So people just have to be prepared to sit out and wait a bit."

That's what a woman had to do at Waikato's Wairere Falls earlier this month when her group left her behind.

Acting Senior Sergeant Tod Hollebon hopes it's not a trend, but says it's a timely reminder about the golden rules of tramping ahead of the busy summer period.

That way it will be a trip you'll never forget, for all the right reasons.

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