SAR Reports - 2017

30/12/2017 Casey Hut Flat

A PLB was activated at the Poulter River and Casey Stream confluence. The Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington tasked the West Coast Rescue Helicopter to respond. The helicopter picked up a male with a leg injury due to a mountain biking accident, and his partner. They were dropped off at their vehicle at the Poulter River Bridge.
29/12/2017 Avalanche Peak

At 1310hrs a PLB was set off near the summit of Avalanche Peak, simultaneously a call was placed to Police via the 111 system who in turn notified Ambulance who dispatched the West Coast Rescue Helicopter. The emergency was for a female tourist suffering low blood sugar levels (diabetic with hypoglycaemia). Other day walkers on the mountain had given her food, but she did not make a recovery; the helicopter crew uplifted her at 1348hrs and brought her to Arthur's Pass for observation and tests.
11/11/2017 Mt Rolleston - Otira Slide

A male ski-mountaineer has fallen about 250m (not confirmed distance) from the Otira Slide/Face route of Mt Rolleston. One or two PLB's activated. Rescue enacted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the Alpine Cliff Rescue (ACR) squad from Christchurch. Serious injuries; no further information available.
05/11/2017 Taramakau River

At approximately 0830hrs a 20 year old male Te Araroa tramper set off his PLB after he discovered he could not make further progress down the true-right of the Taramakau River under Mt Alexander, near Alexander Creek. The river was in full flood after 300mm of rain had fallen in the previous days. The tramper had been on the true-right of the river for 3 days and had apparently run out of food, and was wet and cold. The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Wellington dispatched the West Coast Rescue Helicopter, whilst Christchurch Police dispatched a back-up team of LandSAR members from Arthur's Pass. The helicopter was able to pick the tramper up, and flew him to Greymouth.
22/10/2017 Mt Cheeseman ski-field

A hunter contacted 111 after his companion became ill and was unable to move near the Middle Hut area on the Mt Cheeseman ski-field road. The hunter had requested a key to the locked gate, but this was not quickly available at the time as the ski-field was closed. Police tasked the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to locate and retrieve the ill hunter. Arthur's Pass LandSAR sourced a key and had a five member stretcher party on standby. The helicopter made it to the location in spite of fog and low cloud and located them. The males were uplifted and returned to their vehicle.
07/07/2017 Mt Rolleston

Two male climbers, 31 & 22 years old, left Arthur's Pass early to climb Mt Rolleston, Rome Ridge route to Mt Rolleston's low peak. Both climbers were experienced and had adequate equipment. They arrived in good conditions on low peak at about 1045hrs. On their descent of the Otira Slide route into the Otira Valley they got disorientated partway down Goldney Ridge, as they were not familiar with the route and veered too far east; they became bluffed then abseiled down onto the Goldney Glacier, low cloud & snow flurries had enveloped them, so they didn't know where they were on the mountain. They became bluffed again below the glacier. With deteriorating weather at 1500hrs they decided they weren't able to continue and rang 111. Police tasked the Greymouth Rescue Helicopter to retrieve them. The helicopter crew was able to collect them at 1630hrs by skid rescue, and return them to Arthur's Pass. No injuries, though obviously cold.
11/06/2017 Mt Armstrong

A male climber fell whilst ascending the couloir approach to Mt Armstrong from the upper Armstrong Glacier. He was was unable to self-arrest due to the hardness of the ice, and slid some distance back onto the glacier. The 5 other party members set off their PLB at around 1100hrs. RCC tasked the West Coast Rescue Helicopter with responding to the beacon signal. They recovered the climber around 1200hrs by slid-retrieval. The climber suffered lacerations to both hands and a knee injury in the fall. He was taken to Arthur's Pass for further assessment.
19/03/2017 Mt Temple

At 2130hrs Police Comms recieve a call from a friend of two climbers who have contacted him by cellphone to say they have become bluffed on the Temple Buttress of Mt Temple. They were putting up a new route between central & right buttress.One is highly experienced, and had appropriate gear and a PLB.

After discussion with the ChCh ACR team and Arthur's Pass LandSAR, the decision is made to re-assess the situation at first light. Arthur's Pass LandSAR is tasked with spotting the climbers. A single head-torch is spotted before sunrise descending the upper normal descent gully, and the climbers are monitored until they safely reach Page Shelter.
17/03/2017 Mary Creek

At about 1230hrs the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Wellington was alerted to a PLB activation in the Julia Hut / Mary Creek area of Arthur's Pass National Park. RCC tasked the West Coast Rescue Helicopter with investigating the beacon. At approx. 1315hrs the helicopter crew discovered a party of three overseas trampers in the headwaters of Mary Creek. One of the party had a mildly injured foot and could no longer walk. All three were flown to the highway.
15/03/2017 Poulter River

A 24 year old, male Swiss tourist was reported overdue after DOC workers exiting the Poulter Valley noted he had not signed out his intentions in the track-head intention book from a two day fishing trip commencing on the 7th March, and his vehicle was still in the car-park. Police were notified, and initiated a helicopter search of the area assisted by Arthur's Pass LandSAR of huts and popular fishing spots in the valley system. Other trampers seen in the valley were interviewed, with nobody having seen him. He was found safe near Poulter River East in the company of another fisherman. He was doing multiple fishing forays in the area, and had only signed in for the first. He was given advice on how intentions work!
31/01/2017 Bealey Spur

A 23 year old male overseas day walker was reported missing by his girlfriend when he failed to return to Bealey Spur hut after he went exploring the ridgelines above the hut. She walked out to the Bealey Hotel to raise the alarm at 2200hrs. Police SAR tasked Arthur's Pass LandSAR with sending a search party up the track to the 1545m peak in an attempt to find the man before a severe storm developed over the area. At 0055hrs the search team located the man near tree-line at 1273m. He was uninjured, cold and disoriented. He was poorly equipped, having only light clothing & rain jacket, and no source of lighting. He became benighted on his return from the ridge, and could not find the track through the forest. Arthur's Pass LandSAR walked the man back to the highway by 0240hrs as heavy rain developed.
18/01/2017 Hawdon River

A PLB signal was received by RCC Wellington for a Swedish country-coded PLB with a position near Discovery Creek Flat below Hawdon Hut. Garden City Helicopters from Christchurch was tasked to the area to investigate before the pending "weather bomb" hit, the pilot reported 50 knot winds enroute. They located two Swedish trampers on a flooded river flat. The trampers had both been swept away in the river which was rising rapidly. The man managed to get out of the river but his partner drifted 300 metres before washing up on a small island in the middle of the river. She was hover-loaded into the helicopter, then the man was picked up and they were flown to Christchurch Hospital for treatment. The woman was hypothermic.