Get those 4WD idiots to pay the bill

via Stuff

via Stuff

Thirty-eight people, including several children, became trapped in 13 vehicles along Waikaia Bush Rd near Roxburgh after bad weather and vehicle breakdowns.

The group’s vehicles were surrounded by snow 2.5 metres deep and temperatures reached freezing levels overnight, however they were rescued and arrived back to Roxburgh safe and well almost 26 hours later.

Otago Lakes area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen says the cost is never a factor over the safety of those needing help.

“The police’s prime objective in any [search and rescue] operation is always the welfare and safe recovery of those who are missing, along with ensuring the safety of all of those involved in the search.”

The total rescue cost was $56,927.53, which includes staff wages, costs of hiring equipment, vehicles and the local rescue helicopter.

“While there is normally some monetary cost associated with a [search and rescue] operation, this is factored into and funded from within normal police operating budgets, so there is never any financial charge imposed on anyone who is in distress and who needs our help,” Insp Jenson says.

“I’m sure that if any of us were in trouble in the bush, on the water or in the air and needing rescue, we would be very grateful that cost does not factor into operational decision-making.”

Of course it doesn’t.

But what does matter is that pure idiocy and negligence should not be free.  These same people paid a lot of money to have their vehicles recovered. Covering the rescue bill will be a mere $4379 per vehicle, something that may sting but is hardly going to bankrupt anyone.

The guy who called the fire brigade to report a fire was billed $60k by the fire service as they think he started the fire. So, why not recover the cost of rescue from people who ignored advice and a dreadful weather forecast to go frolicking in sub-alpine conditions above the snow line?


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