Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is the kind of thing that DOES get up my nose...

I have spent enough time in the bush to get myself into trouble, to know when I might get into trouble, and what to do when things do go pear-shaped.

But, it seems, that there are still people who expect "them" to change the rules so that "unforeseen" circumstances arise...
Three stranded trampers offered to pay for their own rescue but were blocked by the Department of Conservation and told they would have to make their own way out.

The trio managed to walk out of the Arthurs Pass National Park yesterday, after being trapped for three days by a swollen river, but were left feeling "quite frustrated and angry" at DoC, which is sticking to its guns.

Hamilton man Kerry Suter, his brother Nick visiting from the United States, and their friend, Auckland cameraman Dana Hemmingway, offered by radio to pay $1300 for a helicopter to pick them up as their food supplies dwindled and the nearby White River kept rising.

But DoC's policy means the only flights allowed into the park are for emergencies, and neither DoC nor police deemed the trio's situation an emergency.

Getting a bit cold, wet and hungry lads? Plenty tucker out there or you should have it with you, you're either in a hut or not far from one, and they all have fire-places.

Mountain Safety Council -
The Mountain Safety Council urged all trampers heading into the outdoors to be prepared for an extended stay by taking extra food, communications and equipment.

"Rivers are a hazard in the outdoors and swollen and fast-flowing rivers are not safe to cross at any time," a spokesman said.

"The Mountain Safety Council encourages people to be prepared to sit it out, camp an extra night or two and wait until the river goes down."

I don't need add to that.


Neil said...

Well, if you want a perfect example of self-centred cynicism, consider this case of the three trampers who wanted airlifting out of Arthur's Pass.
Good on them for going into the wilderness. Good on them for making it to a hut in safety.
Good on them for having the skills to eventually get across a wild river in safety, having weighed up the conditions and their expertise.
But, shame on them for assuming that when the going gets tough, a problem can be solved by throwing money at it. Shame on them for not feeling slightly embarrassed about going into the wilderness without a few days' spare food. Shame on them for not thinking, "This is a bit of a balls-up. We'll let the authorities know we are safe, and then keep our heads down and hope it all blows over without too much embarrassing publicity." Shame on them for considering their own discomfort ahead of the need to keep wilderness areas just that. Shame on them for not knowing that if you've got water and shelter, you can survive for a couple of weeks. Shame on them for not severely rationing their remaining food once they realised they might be stuck, all tucked up in the nice cosy hut provided for them, with emergency contact to the outside world provided for them. And shame on them for now so bitterly slagging off the department whose officers would have selflessly been involved in rescuing them if they had actually been in desperate need of it.
Pity their obvious outdoor skills are not matched by their intellectual ability.
In the long run, I hope they go back into the mountains, but better prepared.
In the meantime? Bloody hell.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Cor that's a bit harsh. I expect the $1300 would have more than covered the costs. I've been skint and in trouble before and the thought of using a credit card to bale my sorry arse out was a welcome one!

The probligo said...

Bushie, whatever happened to responsibility and self-reliance?

Sure enough to pay for being rescued.


The wallies who wander into places like Arthurs Pass in crosstrainers and light clothes, or try the Waikareiti track thinking it will take a few hours, or the Tongariro traverse carrying nothing more than a camera - all of them really get me po'd.

Neil has the right approach. Take a few tips.

Al said...

I've done quite a bit of blundering about in the bush alone. Never occurred to me to even involve anyone else in any trouble that might have arisen.

Of course, none ever did, so...