The old Baden-Powell motto of “Be Prepared” certainly served four Sydney bushwalkers from a potential disaster when they became stranded in the 11,000 hectare Yadboro NSW State Forest some 30 kilometres North West of Ulladulla earlier this month.
The party of four males, comprising of two adults and two teenage boys were nearing the end of their four day trek; when, with bad weather setting in, no cell phone coverage and insufficient food and water supplies to see them safely through the storm, a decision was made at around 1.30pm to climb through the dense bush to the top of Mount Fletcher then active their GME MT410G Personal Locator Beacon.
The first transmission burst from the PLB was detected within minutes by the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra. The PLB was a GPS equipped model which was able to provide the rescue services with location coordinates to within 100 metres of the distressed party, it was also registered on the AMSA database which meant the identity of the MT410G’s owner could be established by the duty officer and telephone call made to his 24 hour emergency contact, thus confirming his whereabouts and number of companions.
In rapidly deteriorating weather, the Moruya-based Westpac rescue helicopter was scrambled flying directly to the GPS coordinates relayed by the GME PLB. The now dehydrated bushwalkers were quickly winched to safety and flown back to Moruya Airport where the group was checked by paramedics before being released.
GME GPS enhanced PLBs are available in Australia and around the world through a network of accredited dealers and distributors.