Two rescued from Tararua's by Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Monday 12 July 2010, 8:34AM
By Westpac Rescue Helicopter


Two people were rescued from the Tararua Ranges by the Wellington based Westpac Rescue Helicopter around 6:30 last night.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was tasked by the Police Search and Rescue Squad to locate and rescue two people who had sent a text message requesting help.

The helicopter, with a Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic onboard, headed for the Alpha Hut area in the Tararua Ranges about 6:15pm.

"The pair had sent a text message to friends telling them that their GPS batteries had died, they were walking through deep snow and were scared for their safety" says Westpac Rescue Helicopter crewman Dave Greenberg. "The text message also included their last known position and said they were heading for Alpha Hut".

"Thanks to our Night Vision Goggles we were able to spot one of their torches on a ridge when we were still several miles away" says Greenberg. "As we got close enough for them to hear the helicopter they started waving their torches in our direction so we were confident we had located the correct trampers".

Helicopter pilot Harry Stevenson was able to bring the helicopter into a low hover near the pair and they then walked to the helicopter and were assisted climbing into the machine.

"Once they were onboard the helicopter we confirmed that we had the correct two people and then headed back to the airport" says Greenberg.

The 27 year old Kelburn woman and 31 year old Brooklyn man were in good condition and did not require medical attention. They told us that once their GPS died they lost sight of the track in the heavy snow and ended up quite a distance from their intended destination.