Story: Search and rescue

A bush rescue

A bush rescue

Brian Pickering (right) saved the lives of John Painting and his 13-year-old son Matt (left) after they became stranded in the Kaimanawa Range in 2000. The Paintings had set off on a four-day tramp, despite being warned that they needed better equipment, but were caught in a storm and rapidly became hypothermic. Brian Pickering, of the Rotorua search and rescue team, found them huddled on a ridge as he was returning from a tramp. He got the pair under bush cover and wrapped them and himself in sleeping bags and a tent, keeping in cellphone contact with the police. When the phone battery failed and Pickering himself became hypothermic, it was feared that all three would die. Six search and rescue teams were sent in, the rescuers at times crawling on their hands and knees in gale-force winds and icy conditions. The missing trampers were found the next morning, but because of the severe weather could not be flown out by helicopter until the following day.

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New Zealand Herald
Reference: 23 October 2000

Permission of the New Zealand Herald must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Search and rescue - Who needs search and rescue?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 October 2022)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Sep 2007