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Practice Search and Rescue camp locates a body

Maegan Thompson
Maegan Thompson

A body was found on banks of the Ashley river during a practice exercise camp over the weekend.

 

 

 

The body was located by Land Search and Rescue staff just after 4pm on Saturday.

The camp was designed as a peer review training exercise to train volunteers and also look for any improvements to be made in the search process.

Land Search and rescue
Land Search and Rescue volunteers Maegan Thompson

Police spent 2,500 hours searching for the missing girl late last year after she went missing from her home. Police have not yet confirmed if it was missing girl Emma Beattie.

Sergeant Phill Simmons led the camp over the weekend and said Canterbury volunteers give up hundreds of hours a year to help search for missing people.

 

 

Phill simmons
Sergent Phill Simmons is Land Search and Rescue coordinator for Canterbury Maegan Thompson

Inspector Craig Mckay said one of SAR's biggest issues is tourists coming into the country unprepared and then entering the bush. 

"A lot of people see New Zealand as a small country and see a long skinny country and are very unaware of how dynamic the land is."

McKay said tourists or anybody going into the bush should carry a personal location beacon. 

Phill Simmons said another issue for SAR are mental health patients who wander off without telling anyone and get lost. 

"We do a lot more urban SAR now which is searching for people with dementia, alzheimers and people who want to hurt themselves."

Simmons said mental health patients are being given location bands to prevent them from getting lost.  

Police hope to release the identity of the body late Monday.