Warn vis­i­tors of out­door dan­gers

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

The busy sum­mer sea­son is here — and with it, the num­bers of peo­ple ven­tur­ing into the na­tional parks, bush and back coun­try of the Cen­tral Plateau.

But our scenery can also be deadly, as the tragic death of In­dian tourist Sa­teesh Babu Hale­hally-Chikkanna of Ban­ga­lore on the Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing in Oc­to­ber showed.

Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion Ton­gariro com­mu­nity re­la­tions se­nior su­per­vi­sor Stacey Faire said while the ra¯ hui fol­low­ing Mr Hale­hally-Chikkanna’s death has been lifted, the mem­ory of the search and res­cue, then body re­cov­ery, lingers with all in­volved.

“The sad­ness of the tragedy has res­onated deeply with res­cuers and the bur­den feels heav­ier as this fa­tal­ity could have likely been pre­vented.

“Af­ter such a tragedy we ask what can we do pre­vent this hap­pen­ing again? Peo­ple talk about duty of care or more warn­ing signs or gates, but it’s well known that peo­ple lis­ten to rec­om­men­da­tions from other peo­ple.”

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Barry Shep­herd of Taupo¯ Po­lice is en­cour­ag­ing all Ki­wis to “step up, help by reach­ing out and talk­ing to our vis­i­tors, to our guests, our cus­tomers and peo­ple you meet on your trav­els”.

“In­ter­vene. Ask them their plans, tell them about the New Zealand weather — what cold re­ally means here, what rain re­ally means here.

“Tell them jeans are not ac­cept­able in any hik­ing sit­u­a­tion. Let them know a torch can help save their lives,” Barry says. “If we all take the time to tell them at dif­fer­ent times, at dif­fer­ent places, then maybe safety mes­sages will get through. “We have a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to help care for our vis­i­tors. We need our vis­i­tors to thrive in our coun­try not just sur­vive.”

Photo / File

The Ton­gariro Alpine Cross­ing. Even in sum­mer, con­di­tions can change quickly in the moun­tains.

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