Climber 'dug shelter' to survive mountain ordeal in New Zealand
An Australian climber who survived almost seven days in freezing situations on a New Zealand mountain has been airlifted to security, rescuers say.
Terry Harch, 29, was reported missing on Monday after failing to return from a hike at Mt Aspiring, close to Wanaka.
Rescuers located him on Thursday, saying it was “extraordinary” that he was able to stand and wave to a helicopter.
Lt Harch had endured freezing winds of up to 60km/h (37 mph) and heavy snow.
“We feel he dug himself a snow dug-out shelter and that is helped in his survivability more than these final handful of days,” rescue co-ordinator Geoff Lunt told Radio New Zealand.
The man was identified in a “reasonably very good situation” and was suffering only from “minor frostbite”.
He was rescued throughout a brief spell of excellent weather at 15:35 nearby time (03:35 GMT) on Friday.
The Australian Army confirmed that Lt Harch was a soldier at present on leave in New Zealand.
Search teams received a signal from the man’s distress beacon on Tuesday, but struggled to attain him amid sturdy winds and thunderstorms in the area.
Wanaka Search and Rescue chairman Bill Day mentioned Lt Harch was carrying a private tracking device which was configured to alert a private company in Texas. The US firm then known as New Zealand’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre.
The climber’s hiking equipment – including a sleeping bag, a cooker and meals – had earlier been discovered in a hut reduced down the three,033m (9,950ft) mountain.
“A lot of climbers leave a lot of their gear and clothing at a base camp and then make a quick ascent on the mountain that they are climbing, and then come back down once again,” Mr Lunt stated.
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“I’m sure he was suitably equipped to carry out that, but as to what happened, we’ll uncover that out later.”
Authorities mentioned it was also windy on Thursday for the man to be winched to security. Alternatively, rescuers carrying meals and healthcare supplies employed skis to reach him.
Published at Fri, 03 Aug 2018 06:03:37 +0000