Three climbers have been rescued after falling 10 to 15 metres on to rocks in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
Maritime NZ’s Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) coordinated the rescue of the group – two with minor injuries – who fell near Stewart’s Glacier.
Search and Rescue officer Samantha Mildon said the group activated their personal locator beacon (PLB) about 9.15am yesterday, due to injuries suffered after the fall the afternoon prior.
A Helicopter Line helicopter flew from Mt Cook with a Department of Conservation Aoraki/Mt Cook alpine cliff rescue team on board to undertake the rescue.
There was some initial difficulty pinpointing the exact location of the group due to the heavy cloud cover.
But the trio were eventually found near Stewart’s Glacier in the Fitzgerald Pass in the Aroarokaehe range at an altitude of 2300m.
Due to the nature of the terrain, the helicopter could not use its long line to pull the group to safety.
Instead the alpine cliff rescue team were dropped off at Copland’s shelter and walked in to meet the group.
After the group were moved to a safer position, the helicopter was then able to pull the group to safety and they were taken to Mt Cook village.
One of the climbers, who had suffered a leg laceration, was taken by ambulance to Twizel for medical assistance.
Another member of the group had mild hypothermia but did not require further medical attention.
Mildon said they made the right call to activate their beacon when they did.
“The weather was marginal and seemed to be deteriorating,” Mildon said.
“If they had waited much longer the weather would have closed in on them and it could have been a very different story.
“RCCNZ would like to thank all those involved in the rescue, they carried out an incredible job in some particularly challenging weather and conditions.”
It is understood the group were three men in their 50s, who were undertaking a multi-day trip. They were experienced climbers and well-equipped for the terrain.
It comes after two climbers were caught in a rockslide high in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park on December 30.
The well-equipped pair activated a distress alerting function of their InReach device after the rockslide at 1800m on Mt D’Archiac.
During a break in cloud cover, the Greymouth Rescue Helicopter airlifted the two climbers to Greymouth Hospital.
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