31 Aug 2009

Locator beacon aids speedy rescue in ranges

8:40 pm on 31 August 2009

A helicopter pilot who picked up an injured tramper in the Kaikoura ranges says the rescue was helped enormously by the tramping party's new locator beacon.

Duncan Gourley says he was able to fly directly to the tramper on Saturday using GPS coordinates sent by the 406-megahertz beacon.

Mr Gourley says the tramper had injured his back and shoulder after tumbling about 400 metres down a steep slope and was hypothermic by the time the helicopter arrived about 5pm.

The old rescue beacons, which were phased out earlier this year, could not pinpoint an exact location and sometimes a lengthy search was required, he says.