Rescue cost up to $5k


Rescuing an ill-prepared couple on Lake Wakatipu last Friday cost up to $5000, cops estimate.

But it’s unclear if the rescued pair will have to pay.

Police, Dart River Jet staff and a local helicopter firm searched for more than an hour for the pair last Friday night.

They were found at 7pm, hypothermic and hopeless in a water-filled inflatable boat near Pig and Pigeon islands.

Senior sergeant John Fookes says police won’t charge them.

He’s leaving the decision to harbourmaster Marty Black, who enforces bylaws on behalf of the council.

Asked what the upshot could be, Black says: “It’s a work in progress. There’s a significant cost to all parties.”

He met with them on Tuesday night.

Black can issue fines of $300 or $500 on about 60 water safety breaches, including navigating without due care and caution, or failing to carry enough life jackets.

An alternative would be for the couple to make a donation to the emergency services, he says.

The couple set off in an unsuitable inflatable boat, with one life jacket and two oars between them.

Black says they “owe their lives” to the rescue effort, particularly Dart River staff who found them.

In December 2010, two French men, Raphael Soubrier, 21, and Yoann Firdion, 24, drowned in the lake while kayaking in rough conditions with unsuitable equipment.