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Beacon saves trail runner

A trail runner was winched to safety in the early hours of yesterday morning after spending more than seven hours lost deep in Remutaka Forest Park.
Police received a call at 9.25pm on Sunday saying the man had been overdue on the Papatahi Track. He had been last seen near Wharepapa hut at 1pm and had been due back by 5pm.
They said the man had become disorientated and had run into dense bush well off his intended route.
Police Search and Rescue [SAR] teams were deployed to search the track from either end, but he was not located. The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand [RCCNZ] were alerted at 12.30am when the runner activated his personal locator beacon [PLB].
Lifeflight helicopter crewman Mike Beausoleil said they were contacted by NZ Police SAR at about 1.30am.
“Someone was doing a crossing from Wharepapa Valley to the Wellington area and had unfortunately gotten quite lost.
“So we flew to his rough area and then managed to locate him with a visual search; he was down in the bottom of a creek bed.
“We sent our paramedic down to get a look at him then winched him up and took him to hospital.
Beausoleil said good weather and lunar light were on
their side during the rescue.
“He was suffering from exhaustion and exposure.
“It was a tough winch – it was about 160ft long. He definitely wouldn’t have gotten out of there himself.”
The man was winched to safety and taken to Wellington hospital, where he was admitted with suspected hypothermia.
Constable Pete Cadle of Wellington SAR said it was a great example of a PLB getting someone out of what could have been a precarious situation.
“Rescue beacons save lives – it’s that simple.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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