Year  

Records Found: 14
Fatalities: 1
PLB Activated: 2
Fall: 5
Avalanche: 1
Rockfall: 1
Aircraft: 1
Overdue: 3
Other: 3

SAR Reports - 2020



14/06/2020 Mt Guinevere

Two NZ climbers triggered a shallow wind-slab avalanche on the northeast ridge route of Mt Guinevere at approx. 1130hrs at about 1650m-1700m. Only one climber was injured in the event. They activated their PLB as the injured climber was unable to walk. RCC (Rescue Coordination Centre) dispatched the West Coast Rescue helicopter to Arthur's Pass, arriving at 1230hrs. GPS location tracking of the PLB had placed it on the western slopes of Avalanche Peak; radio location tracking also had it bouncing around the valley. Verbal info on the climbers intentions had them on Mt Guinevere. The climbers were eventually found after they lit a smokey stove fuel fire on the snow attracting the helicopter crew to investigate. Both climbers were flown back to Arthur's Pass. The injured climber was transported to Christchurch by private vehicle for medical attention (ankle injury).
23/05/2020 Avalanche Peak

At 1920hrs Police were contacted by a concerned informant that a 21 year old female tourist had not returned from a day climb on Avalanche Peak. Police contacted Arthur's Pass FENZ; the tourists name was found in the Visitor Centre's Covid Contact Tracing records having left for the climb at 1010hrs; her vehicle was parked in by another tourists car, who DOC Visitor Centre staff was confident had gone to Crow Hut via Avalanche Peak. Oxford LandSAR were stood down for the night, but deployed at 0800hrs the next morning; a search team encountered the missing woman at 1130hrs at the Waimakariri / Crow River confluence, having spent the night at Crow Hut. This search evolved because of poor intentions left with the informant.
17/05/2020 Mt Rolleston

A solo 64 year old male climber attempted the Philistine Traverse route to Mt Rolleston. He became exhausted after arriving on Low Peak of Mt Rolleston, underestimating his current stamina. He managed to contact his wife by mobile phone, saying he was OK, before he found a protected location and spent the night on the mountain. At 0918hrs the next morning he contacted Police for assistance. As he was talking to Police another climber ascending the Otira Slide route encountered him; he was led safely off the mountain by this climber.
05/02/2020 Taramakau River

A group of Te Araroa trampers were descending a flooded Taramakau River, climbing steep banks to avoid the raging torrent. A woman in the party dislodged a large rock causing her to fall and receive a deep gash on her leg. A PLB was activated. The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Wellington tasked the West Coast Rescue Helicopter to respond. The woman was uplifted and taken to Greymouth Hospital.

Some very poor decisions were made here... the Taramakau area had received about 400mm of rain over the previous days; these trampers all carry tents and should have remained at a hut or camped and waited for the river to normalise. It would also appear that no first aid was forthcoming for the woman (reduce bleeding) during the delay for a rescue team to arrive.
25/01/2020 Carrington Hut

A male member of a 3 Pass tramping party fell about 2m whilst on his way to Carrington Hut up the Waimakariri River, fracturing his collar bone. The group radioed DOC at about 1500hrs for advise and assistance. DOC contacted ambulance who decided to extract the tramper by helicopter. No further information available.
21/01/2020 Edwards Hut

At about 1040hrs Ambulance was contacted by the Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre after they received a radio call from the Edwards Hut about a solo male tramper who had heard a crack from his leg and then it began to change colour. He was discovered by another party who raised alarm. A helicopter was dispatched and transported the injured male to Christchurch Hospital.
20/01/2020 Harper Pass

At 1255hrs Ambulance were notified via Garmin Inreach after two parties of 2 located a 22yr old overseas tourist who had broken her leg on Harper Pass while solo walking the Te Araroa Trail. A helicopter was dispatched and transported the woman to Christchurch Hospital.
19/01/2020 Rome Ridge - Mt Rolleston

At about 1050hrs Police SAR were notified by mobile phone of a 24yr old male in difficulty on a scree slope on Rome Ridge, Mt Rolleston. He had found his way into an area beyond his capability. He was uninjured but unable to move after separating from two friends who had continued on the climb. The friends returned but he was still unable to move. Finally resolved by flying in an Alpine Cliff Rescue team of 3 who secured him with ropes to move him from the slope. He was delivered to Arthur's Pass by Helicopter.
19/01/2020 Koropuku / Big Tops

At about 1500hrs a concerned parent from the USA contacts the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Wellington that his 27yr old daughters tracking beacon had stopped midway between two huts. (Townsend & Koropuku/Big Tops) She was reported to be traveling with an unknown companion. The location showed the beacon at the bottom of a large bluff area. The helicopter and ACR team from a previous Rome Ridge job were redeployed to carry out a search. The area and huts were checked. Intentions were found at the Townsend Hut and assessment of possible travel times, a decision was made to wait 24hrs. The next day RCC was advised by the father that his daughter had made contact from Arthur's Pass. She had dropped her pack down the bluff, wrecking the beacon, a camera, and damaging her phone.
17/01/2020 Avalanche Peak

At about 1530hrs Ambulance received a mobile phone call that a 19yr old female overseas tourist was suffering minor heat stroke and exhaustion at the top of Avalanche Peak. She was with her boyfriend, and a party of 3 who had stopped to assist with additional water and food. Conditions described as hot and dry. Ambulance air-desk declined a helicopter pick-up. Police SAR spoke with the boyfriend and the other party with the result that she was assisted down and back to Arthur's Pass safely by them. Their progress was monitored until they reached valley floor.
14/01/2020 Mt Cheeseman

A 37 year old woman has died after her paraglider crashed in the area around Mt Cheeseman ski area. The incident occured about 1330 hours. No further information available at this stage.
14/01/2020 Avalanche Peak

At about 1345hrs a person dislocated a patella (knee cap) after taking a fall on Avalanche Peak. Alarm raised by mobile phone. The person was recovered by Rescue Helicopter. No further information available.
12/01/2020 Avalanche Peak track

At about 1515hrs DOC in Arthur's Pass was notified that a 67 year old woman had slipped and fallen off a cliff, for about 3 metres, about 25 minutes up the Avalanche Peak track and was now hung up in small trees on the precipice of a 50m cliff. Police were notified, and a FENZ team (including Ambulance) went to the site with vertical rescue equipment to assess the incident. On arrival it was decided the woman's predicament was very precarious. A harness and rope was fitted to the woman, and she was moved sideways and down to rejoin the track. No injuries.
11/01/2020 Casey / Binser Saddle Tramp

The emergency contact of a tramping party of four (aged 40, 12, 10, and 9yo) contacted Police as the group had failed to return from a planned two-day tramp over the Casey Saddle / Binser Saddle area. Initial assessment by Police was that the time to complete this walk had been under estimated considering the age of the children. A Police unit confirmed that the subject's vehicle was still in the car-park and decision was made to hold off on SAR Operations until the following day. Further checks were made of car-park at 1200hrs on 12/01/2020 and another tramping group spoken to who confirmed they had sighted the missing group that morning on the Binser Track. Oxford LandSAR were contacted and were in the process of deploying when the missing party walked out on the Binser Track at approx. 1445hrs.