Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Friend slips, falls, sustained multiple traumas

Name Ross and Nick
Product Name ResQLink™ PLB
Date of Rescue 03/17/2018
Saved By Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue
Beacon Purchased From Torpedo 7 Queenstown
Lives Saved 2

It was a near perfect early autumn's day. It had been a windless and cloudless night and the chilly start to the day had us joking that it was better to still be in bed. That was soon forgotten as the three of us walked up Cirque Creek in the Darrans and soon got into tussock pulling. The objective for the day was a day jaunt up Mt Christina via the 1926 original route.

 Something did not sit right with me that morning, but it was hard to put a finger on. After a couple of hours and facing a vertical tussock face, I decided to turn around, passing on my PLB to my two friends. They continued whilst I cautiously made my way back down. Hitting the river bed, I looked up to the sound of a familiar whirring noise. A helicopter was buzzing over Christina, a most unusual scenic route, I thought. When it started hovering over a particular spot, my heart leapt to my throat. I knew instantly that something had happened.

 The chopper landed next to me as I approached the main Milford highway. A man hopped out and informed me that one of my friends had slipped and fell 40m, sustaining multiple trauma. The Te Anau chopper which did the recce had stropped in a medic who was assessing him. Back up from an alpine cliff rescue team had been called and the Wanaka team responded and were on their way. The rescue team were highly efficient and competent. Four hours after the incident, one helicopter was back on its way to pick up the patient and the medic to be transported to Dunedin hospital whilst the other retrieved the ACR team my other climbing friend.

 My friend sustained a smashed up ankle (which has been fixated), a broken femur (now pinned), a couple of pelvic and sacrum fractures, five broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder. Thankfully he only sustained a mild concussion and no internal injuries. The speedy rescue was a major factor in what resulted in a very good outcome despite a pretty nasty accident.

Epilogue

We were told that the PLB located the victim to within 30m! One of the rescue team was so impressed he insisted on knowing which brand it was!

We were told that the PLB located the victim to within 30m! One of the rescue team was so impressed he insisted on knowing which brand it was!