Tourists ‘owe their lives’ to rescue team

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Nelson Bays Police say the two foreign tourists rescued in Nelson Lakes National Park over the weekend owe their lives to the members of a Land Search and Rescue team who came to their aid.

Nelson Bay s Area Commander Inspector Mat Arnold-Kelly said the information he had received left him in no doubt that the pair would not have survived had they not been rescued.

“Given their condition when they were found it is unlikely they would have survived very much longer unassisted,” he said.

Inspector Arnold-Kelly said the LandSAR team did an outstanding job. The team of two men and one woman doctor tramped for about nine hours in the dark to find the pair.

“Just getting to the trampers was extremely challenging. The conditions were atrocious as they tramped up the mountain through the night. The efforts they then made to bring them back from hypothermia were outstanding.

“I hope the public realise that these rescue teams are volunteers who gave up their own time and were prepared to put themselves in a difficult and uncomfortable position for the sake of complete strangers who had made poor decisions.

“We are very lucky to have skilled professionals in our community who are prepared to go to such lengths for other people.”

Inspector Arnold-Kelly said Police relied on the expertise of LandSAR volunteers on a regular basis to assist in rescuing people who got themselves into difficulty in the outdoors.

“The reality is that without these people we may not have been able to reach these two young foreign travellers in time to save their lives,” he said.

When interviewed by Police after their rescue it was discovered the pair, an Irish woman and a Latvian man, did not have adequate equipment, clothing or experience for the tramp they had embarked upon.

Police urge anyone who is going into the outdoors to seek advice from the Department of Conservation about their intended route and the conditions they might face.