An avalanche has swept through a popular ski run, an unknown number of people are buried and time is fast running out to find them alive.
The LandSAR Avalanche Search Dog Team handler must quickly appraise the situation, make a plan and act. After an avalanche a Search Dog Team is the fastest way to locate buried victims who generally only have minutes to live.
This weekend the annual LandSAR Avalanche Search Dog Team assessments took place in the Cardrona Valley at both the Cardrona Ski field and the Snow Farm.
With difficult snow conditions and in blizzard weather the Search Dog Teams were well tested. The thousands of hours that the handlers commit to training their dogs paid off with all current operational handlers requalifying.
Senior Sergeant Chris Best who is Officer In Charge of Training at the NZ Police Dog Training Section said: “Very pleasing again to see high quality dog teams become operational. The time and effort that these volunteers put into their dogs amazes me.”
Karyn Robertson – LandSAR Search Dogs Avalanche Coordinator said: “A successful camp in trying snow conditions. A big thanks to Cardrona Ski Field for allowing us to use terrain and resources at short notice. And, great news for the Snow Farm with a timely dump of snow allowing us to complete the course on site as originally planned.”
Photos - thanks to Rhonda van Rooden