Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Westpac Rescues Kayaker in Canterbury

Name Howse
Product Name ResQLink+™ PLB
Date of Rescue 05/02/2015
Saved By Westpac Rescue Helicopter
Beacon Purchased From Florida USA online
Lives Saved 1

A party of kayakers were on the Hurunui River, on the South Island of New Zealand running a very narrow Class 3 rapid called the Hawarden Gap. Kayaker John Howse dislocated his shoulder in the whirlpools following the drop itself. The party rallied round magnificently and we got him 2km down the gorge on my cataraft to a suitable clearing. If we had stayed in the gorge I was worried about satellite accuracy and it would have been a winch job. We were 5km from any road and our vehicles and John was in great pain and in shock. I triggered my ACR ResQLink+ PLB and the heli arrived in less than one hour and took John away. The distance is around 80km (50 miles). My decision was based on many factors one of which was time to get treatment and not have permanent nerve damage and loss of the use of his right arm. The alternative of continuing on the river risked being caught out all night with 9 other wet people and a freezing night in the open. The longer we were out there the risks would have escalated. It was a great sight to hear the chopper and to see it fly unerringly towards us. John is recovering. The SAR coordinator said we made the "right decision".

Thanks for developing something I now always carry in my PFD pocket. Light, floats, easy to deploy, and it WORKS. I'll never be without it.