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Cold wait for help

By Emily Norman

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A mother and her two young sons had to wait out a night in the cold Tararuas before they could be rescued on the weekend.

The mother, believed to have been from Wellington had taken her two sons aged 10 and 12 on a four-day tramp from Kaitoke to Alpha Hut.

She had activated her personal locator beacon at around 6.30pm on Friday night, but strong winds and torrential rain in the area meant neither the Westpac Rescue helicopter, nor Police land search and rescue could reach the trio.

Wairarapa’s Amalgamated Helicopters answered the call to action and rescued the young family on Saturday morning.

Pilot Jason Diedrichs said the trampers were wet, cold, and tired, but were “okay once they were warmed up”.

Amalgamated Helicopters transferred them to Tutuwai Hut, where they were picked up by the Westpac Rescue helicopter and taken to a waiting ambulance in Kaitoke.

Search and rescue mission coordinator John Ashby of the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ), said the trampers had a “cold wait in very uncomfortable, wet conditions”, but had sufficient equipment for a four-day tramp which had helped them get through the night.

“Without an emergency locator beacon to call for help, this would have been an extremely challenging situation for them,” he said.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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