Tramper rescued from mountain ledge
23rd February 2009
A Southern Institute of Technology nursing graduate who fell 20
metres down the side of a mountain said he owes his life to a [ACR
- ed.] locator beacon and those who responded to its signal.
Scott Pauley, 32, was rescued after spending three hours stuck
in a precarious position on a cliff face on the Dusky Track, near
Lake Roe, in Fiordland National Park on Saturday.
After taking a wrong turn, Mr Pauley found himself scrambling
for his life as he plummeted down the side of the mountain.
Miraculously, he managed to stop himself on a tiny ledge, just big
enough for him to sit on. Below was a 250-metre vertical drop.
Suffering only minor scrapes and bruises, Mr Pauley activated
the [ACR - ed.] emergency locator beacon he had hired for the
tramp. Within minutes a satellite relayed his location co-ordinates
to the National Rescue Co-ordination Centre, which dispatched the
Fiordland Search and Rescue team who located him about
"It saved my life having the locator beacon, no doubt about that,"
Mr Pauley said.
Southern Lakes Helicopter pilot Richard "Hannibal" Hayes, Te Anau
police Constable Glenn Matheson and St John ambulance officer
Phillip Robertson had the challenging task of finding Mr Pauley,
who was lodged in a crevice.
The mountain was obstructing the beacon's signal but the team
managed to find the vicinity of his location. Soon afterwards they
spotted a bright yellow pack liner, which Mr Pauley had displayed
to make himself more visible.
Both Mr Hayes and Mr Robertson agreed that had Mr Pauley not had a
locator beacon he could still have been stuck on the
Mr Robertson said the new 406MHz beacons were far superior to the
previous 121.5/243 MHz models because they transmitted signals to
the rescue co-ordination centre in minutes, as opposed to
"If it had been one of the old beacons he might still have been
up there today that's if he survived a night without
- Source [abridged]: Amy Milne (The Southland Times)