ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12AM - 5AM

Two rescued after riding rapids on air mattress in Queenstown

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 21 January 2019, 5:54PM
Marty Black wants the two who were rescued to pay the helicopter bill. (Photo / 123RF)

A helicopter had to be sent to rescue two students late last night, after they thought it would be a good idea to drift down the Kawarau river on an air mattress.

There were three of them initially floating down the river near Queenstown, and they were bounced off when they reached the Dog Leg Rapid.

One of the kids managed to swim to the south shore to get help, while the others were trapped by fast flowing waters on the north bank.

It was too late for a boat to be sent to help, forcing Queenstown harbourmaster to send a helicopter at great expense.

Marty Black told Mike Yardley that he has seen events like this for decades, and he believes a line needs to be drawn in the line.

"The top of the list is the safety of the people involved, including the rescuers put their butts on the line to save these guys."

Black says the students should have known better, and they were lucky to have walked away.

"We gave them a fair bollocking so to speak. Being on the river at that hour, not having a proper raft. Quite a few issues here really.

"They are pretty lucky they didn't come to some serious harm."

Black says the helicopter rescue wouldn't have been necessary if they'd used common sense.

"A heli is not cheap, probably cost a fair few thousand dollars."

He thinks the bill should be passed on to the students.

However, Black stresses that he doesn’t think these people don’t deserve to be rescued.


ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12AM - 5AM