Hiker Unknowingly Saves Herself From A Fatal Heart Attack With PLB
Posted on April 3, 2023 by sharon
Before the Rescue
Day one of a five day hike through the Whirinaki forest. A beautiful forest with many very old and awesome trees. We had been dropped off by the shuttle and were keen to walk the 4-5km to Upper Whirinaki hut for the night. Only one small hill, maybe a 200m climb. I started to feel abnormally tired but battled on trudging uphill.
A few stream crossings and we were there. By now I was really tired and very very cold. My throat was burning all the way up to my jaw. I think someone had got a giant straw and sucked every ounce of energy out of me.
But nothing that a good nights sleep wouldn’t clear up!
Unfortunately no. Absolutely zero sleep, just next level burning like little electric shocks through my jaw and mouth. Offers of throat lozenges just weren’t doing it.
Somewhere in the darkness I had decided that there was no way I could hike out of here… not even retracing our steps.
My companions were shocked when I walked out onto the grass outside the hut and set my beacon off.
I was so pleased to see that little green light flickering. I had carried the device while on hikes for ten years without ever having to use it but what a relief to have it.
We had gathered up my gear and sat outside to wait. In fifteen minutes we heard the beat of rotor blades…but no helicopter. A few minutes passed and there it was again, this time out of the mist and barely above the trees came the Taupo Greenlea Rescue helicopter. Another twelve minutes and I was being wheeled into the Taupo hospital.
My absolute thanks to the rescue team and hospital staff. Within half an hour my burning was under control and doctors had ascertained that I had had a heart attack. Further tests at Waikato hospital showed blockages so bad I was barely functioning at one third capacity.
If I hadn’t had the locator beacon I know I wouldn’t have made it through another day. It made impending disaster a very quick pick up. Nobody was more surprised than me….who knew those were symptoms of a heart attack?
After having a triple bypass I am now happily back hiking!
Words of wisdom
Don’t ever think that because you carry a beacon for a long time that you won’t ever need it. And don’t be scared to set it off. It 100% saved my life and saved my friends from a huge ordeal. Not to mention my family.
Thank you note
My absolute thanks to ACR for having these devices available to the public. The best investment anybody who loves getting out there can ever make.
Bay of Plenty 3079, New Zealand
Local Search and Rescue
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