Land rescue under way

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 17:02 20/08/2012

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A search and rescue operation is underway tonight for two skiers who have not returned after venturing into the back country at Ohau Snow Fields.

Police were alerted by ski field staff about 4.30pm that the pair - a male and female - had not returned after skiing over the ridge and out of bounds at the top of the mountain. They are not believed to be local.

Constable Nayland Smith of the Omarama police said search and rescue were on their way to the area.

He said it was foggy on the mountain and the weather was worsening.

‘‘With the weather being the way it is we don’t want them spending the night out there.’’

Fortunately two mountain rescue experts from Twizel were nearby in the Ben Ohau area assisting a helicopter that had been ‘‘fogged in’’ and went straight to the scene. They had with them trained avalanche dogs.

A helicopter has been deployed to assist with the search.

The 10 search and rescue volunteers would search only the surrounding environs as it was too dangerous to send them into the back country, Mr Smith said.

‘‘With it being dark in the area it’s a bit dangerous to send them up on the field, but there’s other places we can search.’’

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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