Search for missing students continues
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 6:01p.m.
By Michael Morrah
Police are scouring the coast off New Plymouth for three people, missing after falling into rough seas while on a rock-climbing expedition.
Two high school students and an instructor were part of a group of 13 that had been climbing Paritutu Rock.
In a delicate and dramatic rescue operations, helicopters made several trips to pull nine students to safety after two of them fell off the rock and into the water.
The group was led by two tutors, one of whom jumped into the water after them.
“We have been able to rescue nine students and one tutor,” Senior Sergeant Robbie O’Keefe says. “They have been winched off Paritutu Rock and have been taken to Taranaki Base Hospital where they are being assessed.”
The students were all from Taranaki’s Spotwood College. Their principal is at the hospital tonight with the students who have been safely brought ashore.
St John Ambulance says one 17-year-old male has moderate hypothermia after falling in the water and climbing back on the rocks. Eight teenagers and one adult are being treated for mild hypothermia.
“We are managing a difficult situation, as you can appreciate,” says Mr O’Keefe.
“We’ve got a search and rescue team currently in the area, a number of boats, a helicopter and some ground crew.”
He says two of the missing are international students, 17 or 18 years old, and their parents are in the process of being contacted.
The tutors were from the Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre.
The company’s website says they offer courses in climbing and “coastaneering” at Paritutu Rock. The latter is a combination of swimming, rock climbing, abseiling and body boarding.
“We’ve got land searches, helicopter fixed-wing aircraft and fishing vessels searching for them,” says Mr O’Keefe.
Paritutu Rock is a New Plymouth landmark and a popular spot for climbing. Past students of Spotwood College have posted photos online of their expeditions.
Police say the heavy swells are making the search difficult, but they have night vision technology and will continue the operation in darkness.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
A stranded orca has been rescued from the Kaipara Harbour af...
In Khandallah, in Wellington, there is a a piece of road whe...
An Auckland car dealership has been sentenced for what Trade...
Christchurch's red zone areas are gradually being emptied of...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.