Hunua SAR and Herald article

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  • This latest Herald article has some advice from SAR on how to help the searchers find you. What concerns me is that the Herald article says he was "well equipped" because he had some clothes and food. What about a map and compass? And some skills to use them?
  • That irked me too, but it's just a continuation of media repeatedly reporting people as 'experienced' when it's either wrong, misleading or irrelevant. A journalist goes to the close family and friends, who automatically state that a person was 'experienced' primarily because person X goes out into the wilderness repeatedly (compared with themselves), and from then on the word 'experienced' is reported as if it's the same as common sense, but if you look in hindsight at what that guy did once he realised he was in trouble and particularly once he was aware people were searching for him, much of it is like a template for everything that's advised against and it likely drew out the search time and resources and people's time for several days longer than they'd have been needed. Not that you'd know it from the interviews with him. Wilderness also took a look at this 'experience' perception thing with an online article: Personally I think that 'experience' is an irrelevant metric in this sort of situation, because it's ill-defined. In many contexts only means that someone's been out there lots of times. It doesn't have to correlate with any kind of common sense, diversity of knowledge, training and exposure to different ideas, or safe practices. Bennington was 'experienced' (just an obvious of many examples in how things have been reported over time). He'd been out tramping quite a lot over the years, but the coroner's inquest eventually noted that he'd been doing some quite un-safe things over and over again, and in the end that probably contributed towards the fatalities. It'd make much more sense to discuss people's abilities to know their limitations and remain within them, and be able to cope with unexpected situations. That's probably a harder metric to consider, though, because it's so often an unknown for many people who go missing.
  • confidence, versus skill, where your confidence is greater than your skill, you're likely to end up in trouble.... he kept moving around and believes he was right,, it wouldnt have been so bad if he had have marked his trail as he was going and indicated his direction.... but he didnt have the knowledge to know to do that.... they just showed on the news where he went, , from lilburne road, then north east and east, he was most of the way across to the eastern side of the hunua's, but he then came south and the south west in a massive loop..... he should have just exited the park in the east and made contact with the outside world, he did so many things wrong he did little that showed he was experienced.... if he had been in a much larger park his chances of survival would have been far slimmer. his answer to all this is next time he will take a locator beacon.... how about he takes a map that is actually of use for him to navigate by, a compass... or GPS.... warm clothing.... survival blanket or bag... turn his cell phone off when he isnt using it to conserve batteries and a fully charged battery.... how about he learns more about bush craft, how to retrace your steps when you're unsure of where you are going.... how to make a decent shelter.... go further south to wellington and if he ws in the tararuas he would end up as one of the fatalities that happen in the park every few years. he doesnt even admit that he is an extremely lucky man....
  • Which channel?
  • seddon bennington was a classic case of someone using their sheer endurance and persistence to pull them through dangerous situations, his ability to do so over the years had given him a high level of confidence. his judgement was clouded by his success at overcoming dangerous situations, he wasn't judging situations objectively, he didnt know when he was out of his depth because he assumed his usual strategy of persisting would work in situations that in the end were too dangerous for him to survive in.... ironically he had been in that area with his children a few months before and had turned back because of bad weather, because he didnt want his children out in that weather, he could exercise effective judgment taking others into account but unfortunately for himself. he was a local.. it's well known to local trampers there have already been several deaths in that area... so did he think it wouldnt happen to him? when his body was found he was wearing eight layers of clothing.... it's also well known that on numerous days of the year the weather on the tops in the tararuas is so severe it is impossible to walk along the tops. a friend of mine had to crawl to get down from the ridge up there once... i''d been in some severe weather with him before so if he was crawling then it wouldnt have been possible to stand up...
  • From : "Search and Rescue co-ordinator sergeant Dene Duthie believes the effort to find Fong will have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars." These costs aren't verified, but this is why EPIRBs and short sharp helicopter rescues are so good by comparison, even if encouraging people to carry EPIRBs results in the occasional mis-use. They're ultra-cheap compared with a long drawn-out search that involves hundreds of volunteers giving up their and their employers' time and money to run around in circles looking for a guy who was too intent on saving himself to stay still for a moment.
  • "ironically he had been in that area with his children a few months before and had turned back because of bad weather, because he didnt want his children out in that weather, he could exercise effective judgment taking others into account but unfortunately for himself." Maybe with children on that occasion, but it didn't work too well for the woman with him and probably trusting his judgement at the time. We'll never know exactly what happened, but to me it read as if he might have made bad assumptions about her ability during an already very risky situation for which they were badly prepared, and that caused them both to get into trouble. A very sad circumstance in any case.
  • in his mind, she was a fellow tramper who could cope if he considered she could cope, it probably was just a matter of toughing it out for a short distance to the hut, they hit the ridge top and either she was already in trouble or they couldnt continue in the conditions and headed for somewhere out of the worst of the wind.... the rest is history....
  • I will always have that Bennington disaster in the back of my mind and often think about it when we are in strong winds or inclement weather. The Tararuas is the only place where I've actually been lifted by a wind, transported a distance (fortunately only a metre) and then released to be dropped. This was along with my partner on the way to Girdlestone from Carkeek Hut in strong winds and rain. We couldn't understand why the experienced Tararua trampers in the hut were voicing their concerns about the conditions and Frank explained his puzzlement because they had decent parkas and the like plus a reasonable level of experience in the group plus we'd done a wet trip the day before pack-floating in the Waiohine Gorge from the MacGregor Tops. There have been times when I carried a plastic bag that mattresses come in and used it in anger. This trip was one of those 3 times when we were waiting for 2 hours in the lessening rain for the Waiohine to drop sufficiently for our party to make their first crossing. If I emerged from the bag, I would shiver so stayed in it with Frank. I've been blown off my feet on the Grand Plateau but it was nothing remotely like the Tararuas in its viciousness.
  • 12 tuna sandwiches, four oranges, four apples, five muesli bars and three bottles of orange juice for a 4 hour walk. A very nonorthodox menu. We had an odd bod on a 3 day trip once who was discovered to be carrying a kg of apples. The trip leader immediately divvied them up among the party. The account says Mr Fong had 2 maps but was unable to utilise them in a helpful way. I must confess we have a member in our club regarded as experienced, even worked for the NZFS but when he wandered off to have a look at Kiwi Flat Hut and reminisce fondly of his 6 weeks based at the hut while working in the valley, he couldn't find it as he was following a trap line of cruise tape and traps along the Waitaha! All he needed to do was go to the confluence of the Waitaha and Whirling Water and have a good look for cairns. There was an enormous edifice on the Whirling Water side which isn't surprising as the hut is nearer to this stream than the Waitaha. After this escapade where he came back emptyhanded so to speak, I started to wonder and subsequent events reinforced my realisation that he wasn't experienced, he'd just been out quite a bit and not learnt much at all except how to pull the wool over people's eyes.
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1–10 of 27

Forum The campfire
Started by iangeorge
On 21 June 2012
Replies 27
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