News

Warning about preparing for four-wheel-drive journeys.

January 15, 2015

4WD adventurers spend night stuck in cold

Two Dunedin men managed to find one of the few cold, wet spots left in Central Otago, prompting a police search and rescue call-out and a warning about preparing for four-wheel-drive journeys.

The men, aged 22 and 23, were rescued yesterday from the top of the Rock and Pillar Range, after getting their vehicle bogged and spending a cold night about 1200m above an otherwise hot and dry Strath Taieri region.

Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said police were alerted about 11pm on Tuesday the men, who had a mobile phone, had set out from Waipiata to travel along the top of the Rock and Pillar Range, but had got stuck.

They were not injured, and had fuel, so it was decided to leave them where they were overnight.

Yesterday morning Snr Sgt Benn and another police search and rescue member ''commandeered a farmer'' with local knowledge and a one-day-old four-wheel-drive, and headed up the ''gnarly sort of a four-wheel-drive track''.

''We pulled their vehicle out and brought them back down the hill.

''They were very grateful. They were glad to see us. They'd had a very cold night.''

The pair were uninjured.

On the way back, their vehicle got stuck and was again extracted.

''Although it was a four-wheel-drive, it wasn't suitable for the conditions.

''Not all four-wheel-drives are equal.''

Snr Sgt Benn said for the conditions, a vehicle needed a limited-slip diff, some method of self-rescue, such as a winch, and chains.

''Basically, they were unprepared.''

The call-out was the third similar job in the area to which search and rescue officers had been called in the past few months.

Snr Sgt Benn said off-road drivers needed to make sure they were properly equipped.

It was important to have two vehicles, and anyone who did not know what they were doing should join a four-wheel-drive club, go on outings, and learn how to do it properly.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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