rescueME PLB 1 Saves Tramper from Health Scare atop Remote New Zealand Mountains

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lives saved
Medical emergency
Normal conditions
Rescue location
°S, °W
Rescue team
Local Search and Rescue
Rescue duration

What happened?

The air was crisp with the promise of adventure as I joined my fellow trampers from the Nga Tapuwae o Taneatua Tramping Club for a three-day hike in New Zealand’s Eastern Bay of Plenty. With my trusty Ocean Signal RescueME PLB 1 and a 14kg pack, including a small tent, we ventured into the breathtaking Kaweka Ranges, nestled inland from Napier.

Our destination was Te Puia Lodge, a remote hut amidst nature’s grandeur. Settling in, I couldn’t resist the allure of capturing the landscape’s beauty in photographs. Little did I know that my journey would soon take an unexpected turn.

As the evening painted the sky in hues of twilight, a strange incident occurred. I briefly lost consciousness, a disconcerting moment that sent ripples of concern through our group. They noted the telltale signs – my ashen face and cold sweat – symptoms often linked to heart problems. Yet, as quickly as it happened, I seemed to recover, prompting no immediate action, aside from our vigilant nurse intermittently checking on me throughout the night.

The following morning, we faced a challenging ascent to the next hut. Given the previous night’s incident, I pondered the possibility of taking the easier route back to the carpark, accompanied by a kind-hearted member of our party. Then, it happened again – that momentary unease washed over me. This time, our nurse strongly advocated for activating my PLB 1, considering the complex logistics of a helicopter rescue along the hiking trails.

With a sense of urgency, one of our companions initiated my rescueMe PLB 1 and positioned it on a bench in front of the hut. Time hung heavy as we waited for help, surrounded by nature’s silent grandeur. About half an hour later, a helicopter descended into the valley and touched down in front of the hut. A paramedic onboard conducted a thorough assessment, reassuring us that immediate treatment was unnecessary.

I was swiftly transported to Taupo Hospital, where extensive tests revealed no cause for concern. The Rescue Coordination Centre played a pivotal role in keeping my wife informed throughout the ordeal, providing timely updates on the incident’s status. It was classified as a grade 3 incident, not life-threatening, with yours truly as the central character.

Although it turned out to be a minor scare, the experience reinforced the effectiveness of the service and underscored the paramount importance of carrying a Personal Locator Beacon when venturing into the wilderness. It’s a choice that can mean the difference between safety and peril, between a minor scare and a major crisis.

Words of wisdom

Thank you note to the Ocean Signal team