“Rescue on Mount Ngauruhoe “
Police are urging people heading into the outdoors to be adequately prepared, after two ill-prepared men were rescued from Mount Ngauruhoe.
At around 4pm on Saturday 3 September a climbing party summitted Mount Ngauruhoe in winter alpine conditions.
The climbers were amazed to discover two men sitting on the snow near the summit dressed in street shoes, jeans, cotton t-shirts and cotton hooded sweatshirts.
The two men were cold and frightened and unsure how to descend the mountain with no alpine equipment in rapidly increasing icy conditions.
After feeding them, providing some warm clothing and some dialogue via Google translate, the climbers called 111 and asked for Police assistance to get the two men down off the mountain.
Police deployed Midwest Helicopters to the summit and were able to uplift them and fly them down to safety.
Constable Mark Bolton from National Park Police who coordinated the rescue stated, “This would be one of the worst examples I have seen in recent years of day-walkers with inadequate knowledge, equipment and skill, climbing in an alpine environment.”
“They are incredibly fortunate that the well-prepared mountaineers were able to render assistance and put the call out for help because I doubt they would have survived the night otherwise.”
At least two other climbers had attempted to turn the two men around during their ascent of the mountain, concerned with their lack of clothing and equipment.
Police encourage anyone heading into the backcountry to check in with the local Department of Conservation visitor centres for up-to-date advice on weather, conditions, equipment and local knowledge of any intended routes.