3 minutes read
Posted 9 May, 2024
Policeman v11

Close call near Brewster Glacier

A group of three unprepared Auckland hikers were very fortunate to escape alive and unscathed last week after bad weather closed in trapping them in rugged steep terrain between the Brewster Hut and Brewster Glacier high in Mount Aspiring National Park. Search and Rescue Otago Lakes coordinator Senior Sergeant John Fookes says the group was one of an increasing number of ill-equipped and unprepared hikers hitting what’s becoming an extremely popular climb near Makarora off the State Highway to Haast. The Otago Southland Rescue Helicopter tried unsuccessfully to reach this group in thick cloud after they managed to use a cellphone, thanks to a new cell tower nearby, to alert Police overnight on 1 and 2 May. The group was some 457m (1500feet) above where the helicopter could safely land. Wanaka Search and Rescue volunteers were then flown in by Aspiring Helicopters as high as possible in the claggy conditions to just above the bush line. Rescuers managed to locate the, by then, frozen group – two of them Status Two hypothermic and get them to Brewster Hut to warm up. They were flown out the next day. Fookes says in those conditions the situation could’ve proved fatal.


Aggressive behaviour

Aggression and violence were a theme again in what was a typical week for Queenstown Police, one offender taking it out on the police station front door. Fookes says on Monday 6 May a male was arrested for alleged threatening behaviour at Pak ‘n’ Save Queenstown the day before. Not far away on the same day another man was arrested for disorderly behaviour between the ANZ Bank and Domino’s Pizza at Five Mile Shopping Centre. The man was allegedly throwing belongings around and shouting at people. He was later released by Police with a formal warning. Overnight on 4 and 5 May, an intoxicated male was arrested for damaging the station door and earlier on the same night a male was arrested for disorderly behaviour at Frankton Arms Tavern.


Driving charges and possession for supply

It was busy Saturday night with another male arrested and charged with dangerous driving and driving with an excess breath alcohol level of 799mcgs, as well as possessing cannabis for supply. He was dealt with in the Queenstown District Court on Monday (6 May).

That day another male was arrested for breaching a protection order locally. He has since been bailed to an out-of-town address by the court and will appear in the Queenstown District Court at a future date.


May the ‘fourth’ be with you

Meanwhile, Police are pleased with the responsible start to the duck shooting season in the region after opening weekend went off without incident, apart from one early morning alleged drink driver caught between Omakau and Ranfurly. Fookes says duck shooting season opening weekend is always a significant event in Otago and Southland because of the issues around safety of firearms use, alcohol and firearms and alcohol and driving. They were delighted to not have had any reported mishaps in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago on Saturday, 4 May. However, the male driver stopped near Ranfurly at 5am will face a charge of driving with an excess breath alcohol level after allegedly blowing 654mcgs when stopped by Police. “So far it’s gone well, but we remind people that the season continues for another few weeks so people should stay vigilant around the safety of firearms, keep the use of firearms, alcohol and driving all completely separate,” Fookes says.

Equally as pleasing was the behaviour at Sunday’s Six60 concert at the Queenstown Events Centre, which the Police attended. “We were very pleased with behaviour and there were no arrests.”

With this week’s wintry blast gearing everybody up for the colder months, Police are urging people to prepare and be ready for winter driving conditions, taking extra care on winter roads and leaving plenty of time for travel and commutes.


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