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Issue No. 413 May 2017

Rescuers honoured

Four police officers were honoured for their bravery, perseverance and skill at the annual New Zealand Search and Rescue Council awards.

Senior Constables Vaughan Smith and Peter Lawn, from Central District, were involved with others in the dramatic rescue of three trampers stranded on Mount Taranaki.

Detective Wayne Steed, Constable Jarrad Whittaker and Senior Constables Peter Lawn and Vaughan Smith at Parliament.

Constable Jarrad Whittaker and Detective Wayne Steed, from Eastern District, helped rescue two exhausted and hypothermic trampers who activated their locater beacon in deteriorating weather in the Ruahine Ranges.

All four received Certificates of Achievement, along with Search and Rescue (SAR) colleagues, in the ceremony at Parliament.

Vaughan and Peter were in a group of six that had to deal with avalanche debris and falling ice – with Vaughan at one point hit by an ice slab as he threw himself across one of the climbers to protect him – after being winched on to the mountain.

The climbers were winched to safety as night fell.

Jarrad and Wayne were in a ground party that had to tramp for seven hours in darkness and terrible weather, crossing the chest-high Makaroro River, before finding the trampers at 3am.

With the trampers unable to walk out, they and their rescuers were eventually taken out in repeated trips by helicopter, flying in very challenging conditions.

Fourteen awards were presented to recipients including other LandSAR, Alpine Cliff Rescue and Coastguard members and helicopter crew.

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