And then a hero came along…

Adam Proudfoot, a foreperson in Christchurch, was working near Lewis Pass in late-January when a drastic shift in weather put the area into immediate evacuation.


“It was 35 degrees – it was so hot the road was melting,” Adam said. “And three days later, it was two degrees, with heavy rain and snow!”

“When bad weather hits the area, we have to leave as soon as we can. The area had no mobile phone service so the only way to find out about a change in weather is by a communications radio – if you don’t have one of those, there’s no way you would have known what was coming.”

Knowing how dangerous these roads can be, Adam doubled-back to check if there was anyone at the Deer Valley Campground, a popular but remote camping spot.

“It’s just what I normally do for my own peace of mind,” he said. “I’ve done maintenance work there before, so I know it’s a non-powered site and understand what can happen when the weather suddenly turns like this.”

It’s very lucky that he did. When Adam approached the campsite, he was frantically waved down by two very panicked people. The couple were stuck at the campground in their van with a flat battery – and no way of charging their battery or reaching out for help.

“They weren’t in one of those fitted-out campervans, it was more of a passenger van with a bed in it for them to sleep. There was no extra heating – they would have been freezing. They didn’t have a communications radio so they couldn’t call for help or anything,” Adam said. “All it took was a few minutes for me to jump-start their van, which allowed the heating to come through again. Once they were warm, they were able to drive their van away and head to safety.


“I’m always happy to help someone in need, it only took a few minutes out of my day… and if we hadn’t come across them, who knows what could have happened.”

The couple were very thankful and contacted Waka Kotahi to formally thank Adam for his efforts.