Lost tramper and rescuers stranded

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 08:23 07/12/2012

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A 20-year-old Dutch tourist who got lost  in the Mt Richmond Park was forced to spend the night on Mt Rintoul with two rescuers after bad weather prevented the rescue helicopter from picking them up.

Nelson police were waiting for a break in the weather this morning to pick up the three men.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter attempted to collect the tramper and the Search and Rescue team this morning, but bad weather again thwarted the attempt.

Sergeant Mike Fitzsimons of Nelson Search and Rescue said the man activated a personal locator beacon yesterday afternoon after becoming disoriented in the bad weather.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter was sent  by the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC)Wellington to the beacon.

The helicopter tracked the beacon to somewhere near the summit of Mt Rintoul.

However, bad weather stopped it from getting to the location. A police Land Search and Rescue ground team consisting of a police officer and a volunteer were dropped ''up into the clag'' and found the tourist, who was not injured.

They were unable to bring out the man and spent the night in a tent. Mr Fitzsimons said there was sleet and high winds during the night and also an electrical storm.

It was still ''pretty windy'' up the mountain this morning and the trio was ''staying put'' until the wind dropped.

He said they were hoping that later this morning they would be able to get the trio off the mountain before the next front came through.

Mr Fitzsimons said they were able to work out who the man was from an entry in Old Man Hut. The rescue helicopter had gone to the hut and got the hut entries.

Mr Fitzsimons said the incident was another reminder of the necessity of registering your locator beacon.

He said without that information searchers had no idea of who they were looking for and where the lost people might be.

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- The Marlborough Express

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