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Beacon usage rose in 2016

There were 152 beacon-activated land-based rescues in 2016. Photo: Supplied

The number of people who are carrying and activating rescue beacons is on the rise.

There were 230 land-based beacon activations in 2016, 152 of which necessitated rescues. Nationwide, the total number of beacons registered in the  Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand (RCCNZ) database increased by more than 11,000 to 62,241. According to RCCNZ manager Mike Hill, the increased use of beacons is taking the “search” out of search and rescue.

“In the not-too-distant past, a person might go into the wilderness and if they hadn’t come back a few days later, authorities were alerted and we would go into a large area and start searching. Beacons changed that – now someone has the connection to say ‘I’m in distress, this is where I am,’” Hill said. “We’re being more efficient and more effective.”

The rescue centre has seen a range of different...

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