Rescue beacon saves snow-bound skiers

20 July 2017

Two skiers rescued this morning from End Peak, east of Treble Cone ski field near Wanaka, did all the right things when snowed in last night.

They were carrying a rescue beacon which they set off from their make-shift snow cave at 8am today - alerting the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand (RCCNZ) to their plight. .

The young men from Scotland and Germany also made the right decision to pull up and stop the night when the conditions changed while ski touring toward dusk. Their tracks had filled in and with new snow falling they decided there was an avalanche risk, says Wanaka Police SAR coordinator Aaron Nicholson.  

RCCNZ Senior Search and Rescue Officer Geoff Lunt says the skiers were carrying a New Zealand-coded personal locator beacon registered to the father of one of the young men in the United Kingdom.

“The son had contacted the father from his snow cave by satellite phone and let him know they were safe and staying put.  Once we received the beacon alert this morning, we made contact with the father using our emergency contact list. Then we were able to pass on useful information to the helicopter crew, so they knew what to expect flying in to the area.”

Aspiring Helicopters dropped an alpine rescue team at the location and the two young men were picked up unharmed about 10am this morning.

Geoff says “these men helped ensure their own safety and rescue – by carrying two forms of communication to call for help, including a rescue beacon that was registered with up-to-date emergency contact details.”

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