Rescue of four trampers on Tongariro Alpine Crossing
"Rescue of four trampers on Tongariro Alpine Crossing"
Please attribute to Senior Constable Barry Shepherd:
A rescue is underway for four trampers on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing who reported being lost yesterday evening.
Police initially received a call from two of the trampers at 8:40pm last night who were walking in the cold, snowy conditions. For reasons unknown at this time, they had separated from the other two trampers who had gone to Oturere hut.
Police located the two trampers using the new 111 location system, which uses GPS services and cell tower information to locate a caller.
The inexperienced trampers reported feeling cold and tired, and all their clothing was wet.
A rescue helicopter was dispatched.
Unfortunately conditions were too cloudy for the helicopter to land and a Search and Rescue team were sent in near Ketetahi hut.
The SAR team were required to walk for two and a half hours towards Oturere Hut.
During the two and a half hours, the other two remaining trampers who had already arrived at hut made contact by text.
Just before midnight all trampers reunited after those in the hut went back out to find their friends.
One of the trampers was so cold that the other three were required to carry her back to the hut at 2:30am this morning.
The SAR team arrived at the hut at 2:45am to find one of the trampers hypothermic.
The rescuers stayed at the hut overnight with the four friends.
A short time ago, a helicopter was dispatched to pick all SAR volunteers and the trampers up.
The rescue is ongoing at this point but further information will be released later today.