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We were a group of five on a ten day tramping trip in Nelson Lakes National Park, south of Nelson on New Zealand's South Island. On the first day of the trip one member developed a respiratory infection which became increasingly more severe as the afternoon progressed. He eventually could no longer carry a pack and was having increasing difficulty walking, even without his pack. We camped the night in John Tait Hut in the Travers Valley. During the night his condition continued to deteriorate and he was having difficulty breathing. Fortunately, another tramper in the hut was a doctor and he assisted our friend during the night.
The next morning the doctor advised us set off our emergency beacon and have our friend evacuated to hospital in Nelson as quickly as possible. This we did and the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter arrived a little over an hour later. My beacon was an ACR ResQLink PLB. Our friend was accompanied in the rescue helicopter by another member of our party and taken directly to Nelson Hospital where he was assessed and treated accordingly.
The manner in which the rescue exercise was carried out was exemplary and it boosted my already high opinion of the way the Kiwis do things. I had asked the other member of our party who was accompanying our sick friend to call my wife in Brisbane, Australia and advise her of the circumstances, as she was the first point of contact on my beacon registration. By the time he was able to make the call my wife had already been contacted twice by the Australian Search and Rescue Authorities; once to confirm our location and a second time to explain the circumstances of the rescue and the person involved. I cannot speak too highly of the professionalism and efficiency with which the whole rescue exercise was conducted by the New Zealand and Australian search and rescue authorities and the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter service. Their efforts were greatly appreciated and our sincere thanks go to all concerned.
Thank you ACR!
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