Personal Locator Beacon Used in Flood Zone
Posted on March 13, 2023 by Ryan
A Real Life Story from Survivor, Ryan, who was rescued by an ACR ResQLink 400 Personal Locator Beacon:
Before Using the Personal Locator Beacon
I was on the last day of an awesome solo 3 day tramp in the seaward Kaikōura’s. This is in the South Island of New Zealand. I stayed the night at Kōwhai Hut. My plan was to walk out along the Kōwhai river back to my car (only 2-3 hours).
There had been some rain overnight (as forecast). And there was light drizzle as I set off from the hut at 9am.
I noticed the river was slightly brown as I walked along a track beside it for the first 50 minutes. I passed the turnoff to Spaniard Spur track that climbs out of the river valley. Carrying on down the riverbed, eventually having to cross the river as the valley started to narrow. I had never been in this area before so I didn’t know how high the river/s flowed normally, but I did notice that the river seemed fairly swift.
At this point, I should have stopped and reconsidered my options of turning back and going up Spaniard Spur but I foolishly carried on. I have done a lot of trail running, including many river crossings so I am comfortable and confident with them, but I think that this actually worked against me as my risk tolerance was set far too high given I had a much heavier pack on my back that day. Which caused me to need my personal locator beacon.
As I got further down the river, the valley became very narrow and due to the contributories feeding into it, plus steady rain, the river got higher. The crossings became more and more dodgy and I was swept off my feet a few times. However by now, I had decided that if I could get to the point where the valley opened up again, I would be okay, so I kept pushing forward.
I got to a crossing where the river forked slightly, but even crossing half of the current, it took me two goes and a couple of dunkings before I got across. After bush bashing across the inside of the riverbend, I realized I had to cross the whole river again, and there were no good places to do so. I knew turning back was just as risky, so I was now stuck.
After about 30 mins of deliberating with myself about whether I could camp it out (with more rain forecasted it would take a few days for the river to go down), and getting very frustrated with myself for getting into this situation, I finally convinced myself to pull out the Personal Locator Beacon.
Calling for Help
I pushed the distress button at 10:40am, and by 11:30 I could hear the chopper overhead. The two friendly Helicopter operators gave me a quick ride, only about 3 km down the river, and dropped my wet and bedraggled self in a paddock near my car.
A fairly simple and straightforward rescue for the team, but one that I was very grateful to be on the receiving end of! I learnt a lot from this experience and will be much more cautious in similar situations in order to avoid a repeat event in the future.
A massive thank you to ACR, and everyone involved in search and rescue for being the safety backup when things don’t go to plan.
Words of wisdom
When entering the outdoors, always be prepared with the gear, knowledge, and experience required for when things don’t go to plan.
Thank you note
Thank you to the team at ACR for providing products and technology that save lives
MHG5+CP Kaikōura, Canterbury, New Zealand
Local Search and Rescue
ResQLink™ 400Go to product details
Small but resilient, the ResQLink 400 has been professionally engineered and tested to ensure it can withstand even the harshest elements. This buoyant Personal Locator Beacon requires no subscription for use and can be utilized to enhance your safety in a wide variety of environments. Whether on land, at sea, or in the air, trust that the ResQLink’s satellite precision and military durability, put rescue in the palm of your hands.
Features and Benefits:
- No Subscription Required
- GPS and Galileo GNSS
- Built-In Buoyancy
- Strobe and Infrared Strobe
- Global Coverage
- MEOSAR Compatible
- Small and lightweight
- 5-year battery life
- 24+ hours Operational Life**
- Multi-function Clip System Included