Survivor Club

Rescue Map

How we used our PLB on a Silver Duke of Edinburgh Trip

Name Palmer Dale
Product Name ResQLink™+ PLB
Date of Rescue 05/14/2016
Saved By Search and Rescue New Zealand
Beacon Purchased From Burnsco Marine and Leisure
Lives Saved 2

How we used our PLB on a Silver Duke of Edinburgh Trip


On Saturday 14 May 22 students aged between 15-16 years old and three teachers decided to undertake a tramp in Auckland’s (New Zealand) Waitakere Ranges in order to practice their skills for the silver Duke of Edinburgh award, the weather was fine and cool. Everyone woke up at 7.00am at the McCreddies Paddock campground after arriving there from school the night before and left at 8.15am to start the day’s walk.


They went up Mount Zion Track, Buck Taylor Track to Pararaha Valley campsite where they had lunch at 12.00pm.


At 12.30pm given the time of day and weather conditions, the teachers decided that the party was capable of tramping the optional extension to Whatipu, then back along the beach to McCreddies Paddock campground. The route taken was through the Muir Track (identified as a track for experienced trampers) and on to the Gibbons Track.


At 2.30pm they made it to the Caves Campsite near Whatipu. Unsure that they would make it back by dark they decided that they would follow a smaller track parallel to the beach instead of backtracking along the main track to the entrance of Whatipu beach.


Approximately 2 hours into this smaller track it started to get swampy. At this stage all students were fine. In the end the swampy areas got deeper and were causing concern.


The group gathered together at this stage on a high point and discussed their options. They decided to find shelter for the night. There was concern over the well being of one of the students at this point.


At around 6.30pm, 111 was first called due to the condition of this student. The emergency locator beacon was set upon advice from the emergency services.


At the same time, 30 metres away from the cliff, staff and students found a cave. All members of the party changed into dry clothes and got into their sleeping bags. Students started to make food and hot drinks.


At 7.00pm concern was raised over the well being of a second student. A teacher rang 111 again to update the emergency services. The helicopter came and winched out the two students concerned at 9.00pm. Supervised by emergency staff the remainder of the party was walked out to Kare Kare beach. Then four wheel drives took groups back to Kare Kare Surf Club at approximately 11.00pm.


The students spoke highly of how the situation was handled by the staff involved and all are keen to go on future trips. The police commented on the high spirits of the group at the surf club and they had a comfortable night’s sleep.


Whilst these students were both discharged from hospital within a day there could definitely have been more serious repercussions for both them and the entire party had they been left in the cave for a longer period of time until a search and rescue team could have accurately located them. Thank you so much for providing a quality and affordable product that my school can use to protect individuals from serious harm. New Zealand has very limited cellphone coverage on most of our hiking locations so whilst a call could be made in this instance (using an extender and only to emergency services) often it is not possible in the locations where I take my students. This product therefore is vital us.