8 Jan 2010

Trampers keep police busy on West Coast

4:57 pm on 8 January 2010

West Coast police have carried out six successful rescue operations in the past 11 days.

All had a common thread: trampers were not prepared enough for the conditions.

The most recent rescue took place on Thursday night in the Paparoa National Park, where a Greymouth man was trapped by a flooded river and had to spend an unplanned night in the bush.

The 48-year-old went into the park on Wednesday for a day trip but had not returned home by 9am the next day.

He texted his partner that he was okay and that he intended to walk out through the Buller Gorge.

But the police launched a search and rescue operation after he told them by cellphone that he was trapped by a flooded river. He was winched to safety by a helicopter.

All made common mistakes, says constable

Constable Sean Judd, who runs the West Coast search and rescue teams, says it is a good day at the office when people are rescued safely.

But those getting into trouble had still made common mistakes, he says, by ignoring weather forecasts, not leaving detailed intentions of their route or not taking the appropriate gear with them.

In all six incidents, Mr Judd says, people put their own lives at risk unnecessarily.