Mt Taranaki avalanche buries climber

BLANTON SMITH AND RYAN EVANS
Last updated 18:30 17/06/2012
BLANTON SMITH

Two Taranaki men were injured when the were caught in an avalanche on Mt Taranaki.

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Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter Trust
HELP ARRIVES: Pete Lethbridge and Mike Johns help two men injured in an avalanche on Mt Taranaki.

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Two climbers injured in an avalanche on Mt Taranaki today have been rescued and are in a stable condition at Taranaki Base Hospital.

While climbing to the summit the two men, a 30-year-old and 36-year-old, triggered an avalanche which carried them more than 700 metres down the mountain, St John operations manager Ian May said.

"Remarkably they ended up three metres apart when the avalanche stopped.  The 36-year-old male was on the surface of the avalanche, and sighted a hand of his buried companion above the surface.  He promptly dug his companion out who was close to suffocating when released from the snow.  It was a remarkable and miraculous set of circumstances that saved the climber from death," Mr May said.

The climbers then moved to safety and called for help.

Police, Search and Rescue, the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter and the Youthtown Rescue Helicopter from Taupo were called in for the rescue.

The Taranaki rescue helicopter dropped two search and rescue staff and a paramedic off with the climbers about 12.30pm before the helicopter from Taupo winched the injured climbers aboard and ferried them to the North Egmont Camp House.

Both were treated before being flown to Taranaki Base Hospital, one with moderate leg and chest injuries and the other with moderate arm and leg injuries.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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