Police would like to remind trampers and walkers to plan ahead and check the weather forecast before heading off into the great outdoors.
Around 1.30pm on Saturday the Rescue Coordination Centre received an emergency locator beacon signal from the top of the Gillespie Pass, Mt Aspiring National Park.
The beacon had been hired from the Department of Conservation by a 63-year-old man and 59-year-old woman from Katikati.
The Rescue Coordination Centre tasked Aspiring Helicopters and a team from Wanaka Search and Rescue to head to the location.
However, extreme winds prevented the helicopter landing and the rescue team had to be dropped approximately 9km away.
As they began to walk to the trampers’ location, the helicopter returned to Wanaka to collect a second rescue team.
The pilot was able to drop the second team closer to the location in testing conditions.
After covering challenging terrain on foot, rescue staff located the trampers.
“When the pair were found they were suffering from hypothermia and lying down in an attempt to shelter from the wind and rain,” says Constable Deane Harbison, Wanaka Police Search and Rescue.
With the assistance of the rescue team the trampers were able to reach Young Hut at around 10pm before being transported by Aspiring Helicopters around 7am the following day.
“While we commend the trampers for hiring a locator beacon and checking the weather forecast thoroughly, this is an example of how changeable the conditions can be,” says Constable Harbison.
“Police encourage caution and respect for the conditions as they can cause hypothermia even in summer, whether it's a multi-day tramp or a day walk, prepare for all conditions, properly equip yourself and tell someone about it.”
• Plan your trip: seek local advice and knowledge if you are unfamiliar with terrain and conditions, and thoroughly plan your route before heading out.
• Tell someone where you are going, and let them know when to raise the alarm if you don’t return.
• Beware of the weather: our weather is very unpredictable and can deteriorate quickly.
Check the forecast and expect weather changes.
• Know your limits: don’t push your physical limits and experience in unfamiliar or dangerous terrain.
• Take the right supplies and equipment: make sure you have the right clothing for the conditions, and emergency rations for the worst case scenario.
Take appropriate means of communication.
• Think: if you get into trouble, can you call for help? Who knows where you are? Do you have the clothing, food and equipment to stay safe until help arrives?