Skier res­cued, lucky to live

Ruapehu Press - - Your Local News - PHILLIPA YALDEN

Res­cuers found a woman in chest­deep snow amid blus­tery snow drifts in what is de­scribed as an ‘‘epic res­cue’’.

The woman was found hud­dled on the edge of the tree­line at 2.30am on Mon­day af­ter be­com­ing lost while ski­ing on the Turoa sk­i­field on Mt Ruapehu.

Had it not been for a joint res­cue ef­fort those who found the woman say she would not have sur­vived the night.

She’d set off for a day’s ski­ing on Sun­day and on the last run had left the ski bound­ary hav­ing fol­lowed the wrong val­ley, a spokesper­son for the Taupo-based Green­lea res­cue heli­copter said.

‘‘With the on­set of dark­ness she be­came lost.’’

Equipped with a cell­phone but min­i­mal bat­tery power the woman put out a call to a friend say­ing she was aim­ing to make it to the Massey ski lodge.

Con­cerned, the woman’s friend phoned po­lice at 5.50pm say­ing the skier may need as­sis­tance.

There was a lot of ground for searchers to cover,’’ the spokesper­son said.

By now the woman’s phone was dead, it was dark and weather con­di­tions were dan­ger­ous, Na­tional Park po­lice Con­sta­ble Con­rad Smith said.

Searchers cov­ered a vast area of the moun­tain, as­sisted by the Green­lea heli­copter which pro­vided an aerial view.

About 2.30am one of the ski pa­trols spot­ted the woman in a ‘‘very steep gully’’ in deep snow drifts, hud­dled on the edge of a tree line, well out­side of the ski area bound­ary.

‘‘With de­te­ri­o­rat­ing weather it was silently ac­knowl­edged that she would be un­likely to sur­vive the night if she was in the open, so need­less to say it was with great re­lief that she was even­tu­ally found.’’

A heli­copter dropped a res­cuer to her and man­aged to pull her out of the chest-deep snow.

The Green­lea heli­copter was then able to hover-load a Ruapehu Alpine Res­cue team mem­ber nearby.

‘‘She was mildly hy­pother­mic but oth­er­wise OK, just ex­tremely grate­ful we’d man­aged to find her,’’ Smith said.

‘‘Skiers leav­ing the sk­i­field bound­ary should al­ways be trav­el­ling with at least one other per­son, and be car­ry­ing a trans­ceiver, shovel and a probe at a min­i­mum.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.