Swedish tourist in safe hands

Members of the Wānaka swift water rescue team during the rescue.

A 22 year-old Swedish girl found herself in trouble during a hike on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, when the Wānaka Search and Rescue river rescue team rescued her from the far side of the Fantail Falls above the 'Gates of Haast' on the Makarora-Haast highway, her condition was good. 

“She was cold and wet, but otherwise unhurt,” Wānaka SAR spokesman commented. The woman, a tourist spending a year in New Zealand, had tramped up to Brewster Hut the previous day. It rained heavily overnight and on her return late Sunday morning, she judged the river to be too dangerous to cross. Since there is no bridge to the start of the Brewster Hut track, and no feasible way of accessing the track other than by wading the river, she was stuck. 

The area is well out of cellphone range, so the alarm was raised by other tourists who had walked the short track from the carpark to view the falls, and had seen the woman trapped on the far side. 

“Faced with the risk involved in attempting to cross the fast-slowing river as opposed the discomfort of just staying put in the rain, she made exactly the right call," the Wānaka SAR spokesman said. He continued, “Bad decision making is the primary cause of deaths in the mountains, and we would much rather be called on to help someone who made the right call and got stuck, than have to search for the body of someone who made the wrong choice." 


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