we heard the welcoming sound of a chopper
|Product Name||ResQLink™ PLB|
|Date of Rescue||01/09/2017|
|Saved By||NZCC West Coast Rescue Helicopter|
|Beacon Purchased From||Hunting & Fishing New Zealand, Invercargill|
|Lives Saved||1 person|
4 of us set off on the 3 passes route from Arthurs Pass to the West coast, 3 kiwis and a swiss. I had met Benoit on a trek in Peru a few years earlier. We had visited him in Switzerland, where he took us on some adventures. Now it was our turn to show him some of New Zealand’s wilderness.
2 days in, conditions cloudy and drizzly, after a very pleasant morning climbing up Harman pass and proceeding up the snow covered valley to Whitehorn pass. Over the pass the route descends steeply through scree, boulders and snow. A short traverse over snow was required to reach scree to scramble down to the valley floor. Benoit slipped on the icy snow, causing him to slide 50m down a steep snow covered slope onto rocks, he tumbled through the air before disappearing out of sight down the scree. We thought the worst, but were amazed when his head popped up over the rocks, then relief turned to concern when we saw his red hand waving. We descended to him, found him covered in blood, which was coming from 2 deep lacerations on his right hand and wrist, with tendons visible and significant bleeding. He also had a swollen ankle, quite a painful back and was covered in bruises and grazes. We managed to dress the wound with enough pressure to slow the bleeding. Ben appeared to be in shock, in cold conditions, with significant pain from other soft tissue injuries. Given the roughness of the terrain requiring 3 hours agile clambering down a boulder strewn stream bed we realised he would not make it to the next hut nor could we return back via 5 hrs of challenging terrain to the prior hut.
We activated my beacon. 90 mins later we heard the welcome sound of a chopper appearing over the pass, where the amazing team of search and rescue guys from Greymouth picked 2 of us up to take us to Greymouth hospital leaving the other 2 to walk back 2 days to the car. Ben was treated in Greymouth hospital and spent the next few days recuperating in a hammock, and the 3 passes route still beckons us for completion.
The photos show the view of white horn pass where we were descending from the helicopter, the helicopter hovering for us to get in with the cronin glacier behind, and ben and I getting transported out. (Photos from the SAR guy Stu). Also a graphic pic of the wound, and in its healing state later!
And a link to a later article in the national news: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/south-island/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503933&objectid=11779790
Thank you guys ever so much for such amazing technology and service. We were so relieved and grateful to see the helicopter coming, and Ben is so lucky he could get to hospital and fixed up the same day after such a close call. Thank you thank you thank you!