AN injured adventurer was rescued from the wilderness of New Zealand thanks to equipment made in Portsmouth.
British expat Chris Painter, 61, who now lives in New Zealand, was unable to move after injuring his knee during a 10-day fishing trip on his own in Kahurangi National Park.
Desperate for help, he activated his Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which he bought from Portsmouth-based emergency distress beacon manufacturer, McMurdo, 10 years ago.
The PBL alerted emergency services 11,000 miles away in Falmouth – where the device had been registered – using the global 406 MHz search and rescue satellite communication system, Cospas-Sarsat.
Services in Falmouth then contacted rescue colleagues in New Zealand to co-ordinate Mr Painter’s rescue.
Now recovering at his home on crutches, Mr Painter said: ‘I bought this Fast Find PLB years ago and always carry it whenever I venture in to remote locations.
‘And I was extremely grateful to have it with me during my fishing trip when I came into difficulty.
‘I would like to thank the rescue services for their amazing help and speed. Just one hour and 20 minutes after activating my Fast Find PLB a rescue helicopter landed and I was being attended to by a paramedic.’
Although PLBs have been used on land in numerous countries world wide for many years, it was only in January of this year that they became legal in the UK.
It is now recommended that anyone venturing into remote areas with limited means of communication carries one.
The devices send out a distress signal by satellite and can operate in areas where there is no mobile phone signal.
Ross Wilkinson, global sales director for McMurdo, said: ‘Mr Painter’s rescue is testament to how important it is to carry a Fast Find PLB when venturing in to remote locations.
‘Thanks to the beacon’s multi-channel GPS, which gives precise location co-ordinates to the search and rescue services, the Fast Find takes the ‘search’ out of ‘search and rescue’ and ultimately reduces costs to these emergency responders.’