Injured woman rescued from mountain track

Wednesday October 11, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Climbing the track to the local landmark known as the Needle is an irresistible attraction for some visitors, but the trek can be dangerous, police warn. 17101030 Climbing the track to the local landmark known as the Needle is an irresistible attraction for some visitors, but the trek can be dangerous, police warn. 17101030

A local woman who injured her ankle while trekking to the Needle on Te Rua Manga was rescued by a team of police officers and volunteers on Saturday evening.


Police media liaison officer Trevor Pitt said five-member search and rescue (SAR) police team, including a cadet, was activated just before 7.20pm on Saturday night. The distress call was sent from Avatiu Valley.

“The people she was with raised the alarm by walking back down the Avatiu side to a residence,” Pitt said.

One police unit was notified and three officers were dispatched, followed by another team who joined in the rescue mission. Six locals also helped the effort to get the woman to safety.

“It was a pretty big job, with the men having to safely carry her down from the Needle to the end of the track,” Pitt said.

A spokesman for the rescue team said it had taken “a couple of hours” to get the women safely down. She was then transported to the Rarotonga hospital for medical checks and an x-ray. 

Pitt said he had yet to receive an update on the woman’s condition.

Police have been involved in several search and rescues missions on Rarotonga’s rugged mountain tracks this year.

Three incidents in the past six months have required police search and rescue callouts.

The first was in early April when a 46-year-old woman tripped and injured herself, requiring rescue and medical attention.

In July, a 14-year-old boy became separated from his family just 20 metres off a side track near the Needle and became lost. Thanks to his quick thinking and limited mobile phone signal, the youngster was able to phone emergency services, who then spent two hours locating him.

Just a few months ago, a Tahitian woman slipped down a bank on one of the mountain tracks and injured both legs. Fortunately, she was with a friend who was able to run to the end of the track and call for help. The woman was carried to safety in a long and difficult rescue. 

Yesterday police urged visitors and locals alike to take extra care on mountain tracks, which can become dangerously slippery in wet weather.

“Police search and rescue are fully trained for land and sea operations. However, the public - visitors and locals, should be mindful of the conditions when they are trekking into the mountains,” Pitt said.

“In particular, the cross-island trek can be hazardous in places, especially during or after wet weather. 

“Tree roots, jagged rock edges, and the steepness in ascending and descending can (make things) tricky. 

“Be aware and sure about your footing.”

In the past there had been cases where people attempting to climb the Needle track had fallen and broken their legs, he added. Police advised people not to take on the hike alone.

“Or at the very least let others know about your time schedule.       

“Prepare yourself for the duration of the calculated time of your trek and carry water.

“A cell phone will obviously not work where there is signal blackouts, but it will be handy as soon as you can make a connection.”

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