NZ – Search and Rescue Operation Supported by RRT
On Friday 19 August 2016 Search and Rescue teams from Palmerston North, Levin and Wellington were tasked with locating a man who failed to return from a three-day tramp in Tararua Forest Park.
67-year-old John Authur entered the park on Tuesday headed for Kime Hut; he had planned to return to his car at Otaki Forks by 3:30pm Friday but never arrived.On Friday 19 August 2016 Search and Rescue teams from Palmerston North, Levin and Wellington were tasked with locating a man who failed to return from a three-day tramp in Tararua Forest Park.
The man was an experienced tramper, but Police grew more concerned for his safety as he hadn’t been in contact since Tuesday and was tramping alone.
By Friday night, with no sign of the missing tramper, RRT contacted the search coordinators and offered to prepare food for the SAR team of 50 police and volunteers who were combing the Tararua forest park for the missing man.
The search was called off for the night due to failing light and weather conditions, and set to resume first thing Saturday, with some of the searchers staying in Kime Hut, near the search area.
Searchers where assisted by a Defence Force NH90 helicopter providing lift and search capabilities.
During Saturday, Horowhenua RRT was in contact with the local police command unit to coordinate the catering for searchers who would be returning for the night, and late afternoon began setting up at the local station in Levin.
In a tragic end, news came through that a body had been found in relation to the search for the missing person that evening. While devastating, this news brought closure for the family and searchers remaining in the rugged forest park.
Later in the evening the first of the weary searchers began returning to base at the Levin police station. Delicious burgers and hot soup greeted the first returning searchers to the station as they gathered for a debriefing.
After feeding many volunteers onsite, extra meals were left with the team for those still to return. This was followed by a round of applause from those gathered and a heartfelt thanks from Manawatu Area Commander Sarah Stewart, “we don’t know how to thank you, you guys are amazing”.
RRT sends condolences to all those involved and is thankful to have had the opportunity to show compassion shown for the family of the deceased.