Victoria Bruce and her seven-year-old daughter Emilie discovered the value of having a satellite tracker after using their device twice to help other trampers.
First was an elderly man on the St James Walkway who was very weak with severe nausea and vomiting, and possibly had heatstroke.
The man and his wife did not have an emergency device so Bruce used her Garmin 66i inReach satellite tracker to arrange for a rescue helicopter to take him to Christchurch Hospital.
Four days later, on January 19, a young couple needed help in Lake Sumner Forest Park.
“They had passed us on the trail and stayed at the next hut some 7km away,” Bruce said.
“The next morning the husband came back to tell us his wife was unwell with nausea and vomiting.”
After activating their tracker’s SOS function, Bruce and Emilie rushed to the hut to see if the woman was okay but the helicopter beat them to it.
“We were happy to have been able to help these people as the distress of being unwell can become amplified when you’re stuck out in the bush,” Bruce said.
Her message to anyone heading outdoors was to take an emergency communication device. She was surprised that all walkers didn’t make it a priority.
“Why would you spend $600 on a lightweight sleeping bag but not have a personal locator beacon?”
Bruce and her daughter are raising funds for the Mental Health Foundation and Federated Mountain Clubs while walking Te Araroa Trail.