$4000 rescue for tired tramper

Laura Mills

Laura Mills

It cost $4000 to fly a “well-known Nelson climber” out of the South Westland bush last evening, in what police say was an abuse of the system.
West Coast police search and rescue officer in charge, senior constable Mike Tinnelly, said the climber set off his locator beacon about 4.30pm, sparking a long flight for the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter, from Greymouth to the Otoko River, near Paringa.
However, there was nothing physically wrong with him — he was just “sick of bush bashing”.
“His excuse was he thought he was going to be late out.
“He was not due out until Saturday,” Mr Tinnelly said.
It cost at least $4000 to send the rescue helicopter, which spent two hours collecting the tired man.
Mr Tinnelly said the man “needs to reassess his ability being in the bush”.
“He’d be better off sticking to walking tracks around Nelson.”
It was an “abuse” of what the locator beacon system was intended for.
The Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter pilot Martin Shaw said the man, 67, had underestimated the time it would take him to get out.
The tramper was well known but Mr Tinnelly declined to name him. The Star understands he was a highly experienced mountaineer who had written books on the subject.