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Rescue Map

Hunter - we could hear the faint sound in the distance of a helicopter, getting louder and louder

Name Keegan Thomson
Product Name ResQLink™+ PLB
Date of Rescue 01/01/2001
Saved By Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter
Beacon Purchased From Hunting & Fishing New Zealand
Lives Saved 1

I have been a hunter for all of my young life. Its a huge passion of mine and gives me an opportunity to get away from everyday stress and enjoy the back country of New Zealand. The days hunting started off as any other, driving to my favorite remote block out the back of Taranaki in the search for pigs. My two friends and I were making our way to the top of a very steep ridge in the dense bush to try and track along there in the hope the dogs would get a scent. Once at the top of the ridge we began walking to where there was a bait dump just 1 km away through the bush, sidling along the ridge until dropping down into the valley floor. Once at the bottom it soon became very clear that we had bluffed ourselves out, neither going back or forward were very safe options, one of my friends made jokingly that if we slipped it would be the last thing we do. About 15 minutes later I found myself 10 m behind my two friends in front as we made our way out of the valley floor and back up the steep ridge. I was trying to follow my friends in front every footstep as to not make a mistake but having fallen behind i made the accident of going over a fallen tree and losing my footing. Sliding 6 m down the steep ridge face I was calm in thinking that I would soon stop, but as I saw the edge of the cliff I knew that I was about to be in a whole lot of trouble. I fell 15 m to the rocks below, knocking myself out on impact. My two friends completely unaware of what had just happened until I began to wail out in pain for them to come and help me, screaming in agony. I didn't hear much from friends, just that they were going to get to me as fast as possible and to set my PLB off. After a few minutes when my breathing had settled I tried to move my legs but could barely wriggle my toes without searing pain. I reached into my chest pocket of my jacket and pulled out my beacon, aiming the aerial to the sky and setting it off. I laid on my back in the same position I had fallen for two hours before I heard the voice of my one of my friends from down below. He had come up the valley through the river to get to me, soaking wet from his chest down, he sat by my side holding my hand, calming me down and reassuring me that everything would be alright. Looking towards the sky it was a struggle to see through the canopy, realising this would make it impossible for the helicopter to spot us, my friend, Scott, began chopping and pushing over trees to clear a gap so we could be seen. Soon enough we could hear the faint sound in the distance of a helicopter, getting louder and louder with every moment, tears of joy began rolling down my face. The helicopter hovered over us after seeing Scott shake the trees and spot us, the paramedic was then lowered down to the slope and the process of getting me into the stretcher begun, I was safe.

I can't thank the ACR team enough, they saved my life that day and without such an incredible piece of technology many others wouldn't still be alive. Thank you.