SAR Reports - 2018

08/11/2018 Crow Hut

A PLB was activated in the vicinity of Crow Hut at 1540hrs on Thursday 8th November. Rivers were in extreme flood after 300mm of rainfall had been dumped on the Alps from Wednesday night. The Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington coordinated the SAR attempts. Extreme weather conditions prevented helicopters flying and the Waimakariri River was bank-to-bank preventing any foot access. Investigations revealed 3 trampers in the party. Eventually at 1833hrs on the Friday the weather had abated enough for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Christchurch to access the Crow Valley. The trampers could not cross any stream safely below Crow Hut on the Thursday due to extreme flooding and returned to the hut, setting off their beacon. They were aware of the Severe Weather Warning before departure but chose to ignore it.
22/10/2018 Mt Harper

A 31 year old male climber fell from the Camp Spur approach to Mt Harper on its eastern flank after a wet slide avalanche took him off the ridge. The emergency was raised by 2x PLB at about 1230hrs and was attended by both the West Coast Rescue Helicopter, and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Christchurch. The climber was in a party of six ascending Mt Harper. The climber had critical head injuries and was flown to Christchurch Hospital. The climber passed away later in the week.
18/03/2018 Temple Basin

At 1530hrs two overseas visitors were canyoning the Twin Falls creek near Temple Basin and had reached the main waterfall descent (70m). The woman was first to abseil, however the main abseil rope released and she plummeted into the shallow plunge pool about 70m below. Her companion rigged an emergency rope, and abseiled to her position. He set off his PLB, and signaled (whistle & wave) to tourists in the Temple Basin car-park, who rang Police to raise the alarm. Arthur's Pass FENZ was task to investigate, and the West Coast Rescue Helicopter was dispatched by RCC in Wellington. The helicopter crew on arrival determined the woman was deceased and recovered her partner by winch. Her body was recovered at 1830hrs.
12/02/2018 Bealey Spur track

Injured knee on 60 year old male day walker; unable to walk or weight leg. Alert raised by tour guide of which patient was a group member to DOC ranger working on lower track, radioed to base in Arthur's Pass, then ambulance contacted. DOC rangers proceeded to site of patient 3.5km from highway to assist and provide further information via radio. Uplifted and flown to Greymouth Hospital by West Coast Rescue helicopter.
06/02/2018 Hogs Back track, Craigieburn

A male mountain biker collapsed whilst cycling the Hogs Back mountain biking trail in Craigieburn Forest Park. The alarm was raised by mobile phone. The patient could not be revived. Westpac Air Rescue helicopter, Arthur's Pass Ambulance & Fire attended the incident.
20/01/2018 Townsend Hut - Taramakau River

A group of trampers arrived at about 1700hrs at the Townsend Hut and discovered one of their members was missing. Two party members retraced the route to the Taramakau River but did not find him. Fearing he had met with some form of accident they set off a PLB. The Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington task the Greymouth Rescue Helicopter with investigating the beacon. The helicopter crew found the two searchers, then commenced a search for the missing tramper but couldn't find him in the thick scrub. The lost tramper, who was well away from the route, saw the helicopter and returned to valley floor. The 3 trampers were flown to Townsend Hut.
02/01/2018 Poulter River

A PLB is activated in the Poulter River area. The Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington task the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Christchurch to attend. The heli crew discover a 60 year old male with an ankle injury who was tramping in the area with his son. The patient & son are uplifted.