Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Mother saved in Sydney by Sons ACR ResQLink PLB

Name Edith Slee
Product Name ResQLink PLB
Date of Rescue 02/15/2013
Saved By Westpac Rescue Helicopter
Lives Saved 1

My mother was walking with a friend in the backcountry of New Zealand in February. She slipped, there was an enormous crack and she was unable to stand up. Her foot was not where it used to be. Unusual bulges in her leg showed where the two bones in her lower leg had broken in two.

I had given my Mother my PLB because of her diabetes. She had been reluctant to take it because she thought it would be too big and for a small diabetic woman every ounce counts. When I showed her just how small and light it is she agreed to take it with her. I told her that if, for some reason, she couldn't control her blood sugar she should press the button. Then we would know that someone would turn up to rescue her even if she could not help herself.

I had never envisaged that the problem of diabetes would be magnified many times by two compound fractures and a dislocated ankle with my Mother unable to move or be moved by her friend off the exposed mountainside. A good days walk from the road head and several hours walk from the nearest hut the situation would be bad enough for most people. My Mother's diabetes is easy to control in most situations but when extreme stress and pain are introduced the blood sugar levels can rise and fall at an alarming and dangerous rates leading to unconsciousness and the real possibility of death.

After a few minutes consideration they took out the PLB, set it up on a rock and pressed the button. As if by magic an hour later the Westpac helicopter appeared over a ridge and landed a few hundred meters away. Out popped a number of heroic looking men who proceeded to strap Mum into a stretcher and carry her back to their wonderful flying machine. A couple of hours after what would normally be an innocuous trip, but one that destroyed her lower leg, she was in Christchurch hospital emergency department. The Helicopter team were kind enough to drop Alice back at her car on the way past. It is no stretch to say that the ACR ResQlink PLB saved my Mothers life. It would have taken Alice many hours to get to the road head on foot and raise the alarm and probably several more hours for a rescue party to locate my Mother. This would have certainly been the following day because it is unlikely Alice would have raised the alarm before sunset. For a diabetic to survive in the open, even in a sleeping bag, alone and entering into shock for the whole night would have been miraculous, particularly when they are 65 years old. My mother has spent many happy weeks walking in the hills of New Zealand, the UK and elsewhere. When her leg finally heals she is looking forward to many more. Next time I am sure she will be taking her ResQlink PLB.

Dear developers and builders of the ResQlink beacon,

On behalf of my mother and my four brothers and sisters I would like to thank you for your ingenuity. I think it is unlikely that my mother would have been able to survive a night alone in the backcountry of Canterbury, New Zealand with a shattered leg and diabetes.

Everyone is extremely grateful that she had my beacon with her, that it was so simple to activate, worked and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was so efficient.

With many thanks

Ben Slee