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Safety teams clear ski fields

Safety teams clear ski fields

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts management is satisfied that no-one has been caught in the avalanche which travelled through the Turoa Ski Area earlier today.

Turoa Ski Area Manager, Chris Thrupp says a comprehensive search by trained ski patrollers and avalanche dogs found the affected area to be clear. A helicopter with infra-red heat seeking equipment was on standby up the mountain.

In addition, a check of the skifield's car park has shown that there were no unaccounted cars.

All Ruapehu Alpine Lift staff have been accounted for and there have been no reports of any persons missing. RAL staff spoke with people as they left the ski field to ascertain that all members of their ski parties were accounted for.

Mr Thrupp says the police are also satisfied that the area is clear. The Department of Conservation and OSH were notified as standard procedure.

"We spoke with a number of eye witnesses who told us that they did not see anyone get caught by the avalanche as it moved quite slowly through the ski field, mainly through a narrow gully known as Why Not."

At the time of the avalanche, ski patrollers were working on placing "bombs" in the area above the ski field away from the areas in use, to help prevent unpredictable avalanches.

He says while a review of their procedures in light of the avalanche will be undertaken, initial investigations show that all standard operating procedures for controlling avalanches were followed.

"When you are managing potential avalanches there is always an unpredictable element and this was one of those occurrences.

"We're grateful that there was no-one injured."

Mr Thrupp says he was pleased with the way the emergency plan was implemented and praised staff for immediate action and professionalism.

Turoa will open tomorrow, weather and snow conditions permitting.

© Scoop Media

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