Kayakers reject $4000 bill for rescue they say they didn’t need.

Monday, 11 January 2010
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Raging River. Flickr Photo Credit: TawcanTwo kayakers who were pulled out by helicopter on December 3 from the shoreline of the flooded Shotover River in New Zealand are saying they didn't deserve to be billed the $4000 cost to pick them up.

They reject the invoice because they didn't call in the empty kayak spotted floating downstream and since they didn't actually need to be rescued, they shouldn't need to pay.

It's a good argument but like every good story there is more to it than meets the eye.

Here are a couple facts from the news article:

  • They were paddling on the Shotover River which at the time was at its maximum flood (about 260 cubic meters per second) when somebody spotted an empty, upturned kayak floating down river.
  • Also, all the rivers rafting and jet boat operators had suspended operations that day because they felt that the river was to high and dangerous.
  • The two men, who were apparently experienced, were advised not to paddle that day.

[blockquote]"Why should the community pay when it's a situation of their own making? It was not an option for us not to go - we must go (and search)," Queenstown Lakes District harbourmaster Marty Black said.

Mr Black said the pair had put in at MacLeod's Bluff and were retrieved from opposite sides of the river about 1km downstream. They had been "very pleased" to see the helicopter. The man from the upturned kayak had apparently got into difficulty when he hurt his finger, then lost his kayak, Mr Black said.[/blockquote]

So the question is out there, should the kayakers have been billed $4000 for a rescue they say they didn't need?

More info: stuff.co.nz
Flickr Photo Credit: Tawcan

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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