Tourists 'narrowly' avoid second tragedy

Last updated 21:23 12/05/2012
Pilot Nat Every, crewman Mark Bond and five 'very happy' young hikers.
Youthtown Rescue Helicopter
GOOD OUTCOME: Pilot Nat Every, crewman Mark Bond and five 'very happy' young hikers.

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Five young tourists have been rescued from an icy-cliff on Mt Ngauruhoe, avoiding what could have been the second fatal tragedy to hit the region today.

A rescue helicopter spokesman said the American men, aged in their early twenties, were lucky to be alive as weather was deteriorating on the mountain.

The group became stranded on an icy cliff face, just below the summit of the mountain, after spending a full day hiking.

Taupo’s youthtown rescue helicopter found the men just after sundown.

The five were uninjured.

However, one man who had became soaked after falling earlier was forced to huddle in his sleeping bag to prevent hypothermia, the spokesman said.

With bad weather on its way, he said it was likely the tourists would have died if not found by the helicopter.

Taupo’s youthtown rescue helicopter also responded to a fatal car accident this morning.

Three Boston University students died when the van they were travelling veered off the road and rolled near Turangi.

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