‘Roaring’ hunters reminded to take distress beacons

5 April 2018

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) is reminding hunters heading out for the ‘roar’ that a registered distress beacon could save their life following two rescues this week.

RCCNZ organised the rescue of two hunters who were bluffed on the West Coast, north of Haast, yesterday morning after they set off their distress beacon at 9 am.

“The hill was slipping away from under them,” says Senior Search & Rescue Officer, Greg Johnston. “They found themselves in a life-threatening situation and made the decision to request help before the situation got worse.”

RCCNZ sent the Greymouth Rescue Helicopter to assist the pair, who were taken to solid ground.

On Tuesday, two wet and cold hunters were rescued from a rapidly-rising river in Fiordland, that had separated them from their inflatable boat on the opposite bank. RCCNZ sent Southern Lakes Helicopters to assist the pair.

“Again, the situation could have quickly escalated,” Greg says. “If you feel that your life is in grave or imminent danger, you should first try to use two-way communications such as a phone or radio so that you can talk to emergency services. However, if you don’t have signal, then a distress beacon should be activated.”

The ‘roar’ takes place from mid-March to mid-April in New Zealand and sees hunters going bush with aspirations of shooting a stag, which are more vocal than normal due to the mating season.

Greg says hunters should put safety first during this busy time and a distress beacon is essential kit. Beacons start at $350 and your local outdoors shop should stock a selection - a small price compared with the cost of a life.

“Hiring is an option if you only need a beacon for a short period of time. If you activate it, you’ll still receive the same quick response Rescue Coordination Centre NZ provides to all beacons alerts,” Greg says.

A list of beacon retailers and hire outlets is available here:

Greg has a final reminder - register your beacon! Registration is free and your details are only used for rescues.

“When you register, you give us critical information that helps us mobilise the best emergency response for your situation. In short: it could save your life.”

Register you beacon

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