Lost tramper sparks bush rescue

The relieved tramper, second from right, with members of LandSAR Marlborough at Pelorus. Photo: Supplied.

A disorientated tramper has been rescued after mistakenly following trap line markers instead of the track.

Search and Rescue teams were alerted on Saturday afternoon that a woman was lost in the Pelorus River area after police received a 111 call.

The team spent four hours in 28-degree heat tracking the missing walker who was later discovered dehydrated but unhurt.

The LandSAR Marlborough field team leader says a full tracking team were deployed to Pelorus after police got a ping from her cell phone.

“Once panic set in, the lost person realising they don’t make good decisions when panicked, stopped and called emergency services and was instructed to stay put until rescued.

“The reason for getting lost was following pink trapline markers.

“Track markers in NZ are orange and this is the leading cause of people getting lost in our bush.

“Trap lines are a set distance and then stop. Quite often people will continue trying to find these pink markers and get lost when they can’t find them,” he says.

The woman, who is not from Marlborough, was in contact with the Incident Management Team via text.

She was praised by the field leader for keeping calm.

He says people in her situation should stay in one place and wait for help.

“She did exactly what she should have,” he says.

By using whistles, the field team managed to find the approximate area where the lost tramper was.

“The field team had a rough location and was conducting a soundline; a process of blowing whistles, along the track.

“By now, the team was in deep bush and the lost person could no longer hear whistles or people so we backtracked and regrouped.

“We found her about 500m from where we originally were over a ridge and in another gully.”

The woman was discovered at 5.20pm, safe and well but thirsty and hungry and was back at Pelorus Bridge by 6.30pm.

She did not require medical attention.

“Thanks to all those who responded, the team back at base including AREC, the field team who deployed including the logistical support who returned an exhausted team safely back to base at 8pm

The team is always much bigger than just the team in the field,” the spokesman says.

Field team

Dean Boyce (Operational Tracker) Jason Jones (Operational Tracker) Mandy Smith (Field Team Member) Kerry Lammas (Operational Tracker/team leader Lew Bright (logistic support and containment) Incident Management Team Julia Eason (IMT) Kimberley Karaitiana (IMT) Ron Harris (AREC) Paul Rennie (AREC)

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