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Safety Reminder Following Two Search And Rescue Efforts

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Safety Reminder Following Two Search And Rescue Efforts

Police in Central District are reminding people to take safety precautions before heading into the bush or ranges after two rescue efforts in the last few days where searchers have had difficulty in establishing a location of the missing person.

Sadly in one of the two cases a hunter was found dead. Martin Duff, known as Darky Duff, was a 60-year-old experienced pig hunter who failed to return from a trip in bush between National Park and Turangi on Thursday.

It was not unusual for him to return late from hunting trips so the alarm wasn't raised until Saturday. His horse and two dogs were found on Sunday and Mr Duff was found dead in a pool in Waipari Stream on Monday. The cause of his death is yet unknown.

In the second incident police in Palmerston North were contacted around 3am this morning (Tuesday, 13 January) after a woman had failed to return from a walk in the Ruahines.

The 39-year-old woman from Pahiatua has been training for a sporting event and told family she was intending to go for a training walk in the Ruahines after work (around 5.45pm) before returning home.

A search for her vehicle was launched and this was found at 7am at Tamaki West Road. Around 8.35am the Square Trust helicopter and a volunteer search and rescue were preparing to enter the area when the woman was located.

It transpires that she had run out of light during her walk and was unable to see the track markers. She had some snacks and water with her but unfortunately no means of communication and was not equipped for an overnight stay. She decided to bed down for the night on the track around 4km from her car, and make her way out at first light. She was found by an officer from Dannevirke as she came out on to the road from the track, thankfully having suffered no ill effects.

Police search and rescue co-ordinator Constable Kevin Dalzell said: "Thankfully this morning had a happy ending but it could easily have been a different story. The biggest difficulty was not knowing where to start looking. It is vital that people who go in to the bush or ranges, no matter how experienced let a friend or family member know of their intentions, their planned location and when to expect them back. If someone is in trouble or injured that type of information for a rescue team can make the difference between life and death. Every situation is different. Hunters for instance, unlike trampers will not necessarily stick to identifiable tracks, and some people will be more experienced that others, but the basic safety precautions are the same."

He also stressed the importance of communications equipment. For regulars to these areas the best investment is some sort of GPS alert system. These can be bought at reasonable prices and at the touch of a button can notify someone that they are OK or that they are in need of urgent assistance. The systems send a GPS reading to the receiver of the alert giving their location.

If a GPS system isn't available mobile phones should still be carried as there are some areas that will pick up a signal.

Mr Dalzell added: "It is also important to monitor proposed weather conditions, considering the time of day you are setting out, know your limitations and make sure you have appropriate clothing and equipment with you."

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.

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