Paul Bromell and Aaron Hunter of Search and Rescue with Frank Witowski of Hybrid bikes, along with Sherp Tucker and Graham Pomeroy, also of Search and Rescue.

Search and Rescue on an electric roll

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Nelson’s search and rescuers are joining the electric revolution with a brand-new e-bike that will aid them in their operations.

The Hybrid bike was donated by local e-bike manufacture Frank Witowski, after he learned of the work that SAR does across the region.

“These guys volunteer all their time. I thought ‘I’m only a little guy but how nice if I can do something for the community’.”

At a recent ceremony, SAR’s Sherp Tucker said that he met Frank when he was introduced to him by his neighbour.

Sherp asked Frank if he had ever thought about making bikes for search and rescue. He then got keen mountainbiker Aaron Hunter to see if the idea was a good one.

“All these people rode the bike and they were impressed because it never took the energy out of them.”

The idea is that if SAR is looking for someone, particularly on mountainbike trails, they do not want to be exhausted by the time the find them.

“As we know, we have a fairly healthy mountainbiking community in this town,” said Aaron.

He gave the bike a trial – making his way up the Barnicoat track, Third House, on to the Coppermine track, then the Maitai and back to Barnicoat.

It took him three hours and 45 minutes for the 50km loop.

“As it stands, it’s going to be a big tool in the toolbox.”

He said it would also work all the way out to the Heaphy Track and Old Ghost Road.

“Even for urban search and rescue, I can see there being a use for it.

“I can certainly see more of these hanging in the SAR tool shed. I can see this being a big addition to our organisation.”

Frank says he was pleased to donate the bike.

“If the bike can save somebody’s life or get them out of a difficult situation, then that would be a really cool thing.”

Frank is modifying the bike before handing it over to SAR.