The Aorangi Forest Park where an 18-year-old hunter was rescued after taking a fall on Sunday night. PHOTO/FILE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

Wet weather and poor visibility made the rescue of an injured hunter in the Aorangi Forest Park on Sunday night a difficult task for those involved.

Senior Constable Pete Cunningham, who oversaw the rescue operation, said the 18-year-old hunter had been in the park since Friday night and the job was considered “urgent” due to poor weather.

“He had a fall [on Sunday] and tried to make his way out, as hunters do, but got very wet and cold.

“The conditions were pretty atrocious [on Sunday] night.”

The hunter managed to call for help using his cell phone and the Life Flight Westpac Rescue helicopter was dispatched late on Sunday.

However, they were unable to locate him due to the dense bush and cloud cover and instead dropped off two Wairarapa search and rescue volunteers and a paramedic.

“They located him around 3am [Monday] morning and the paramedic treated him onsite,” Cunningham said.

The hunter was able to walk out via the Te Kopi Homestead near the Putangirua Pinnacles track and didn’t require hospitalisation.

While the man had been hunting in the area before and knew his approximate location, Cunningham said he was not experienced and was just starting out.

“Nowadays if you’re hunting or tramping by yourself you have to have a personal locator beacon. What that does, is tell us your exact location and that you’re in trouble.”

He said it was also important for people to cover the basics like advising people of where they were going and when they were expected out and taking proper supplies in case they “get caught out” by the weather.

“Even if you are going from hut to hut, carry some type of shelter during the winter and a little bit of extra food.

“Advise people where you’re going and make a timeframe so if you’re not back by that time people can let us know.”

  • PLBs are available for hire from the Masterton Trust Lands Trust building for $5 per day.