Woman dies tramping in Nelson, two others involved in separate rescue

Woman dies tramping in Nelson, two others involved in separate rescue

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Weather conditions had improved dramatically as the rescue helicopter landed today.
  • Weather conditions had improved dramatically as the rescue helicopter landed today.
  • Weather conditions had improved dramatically as the rescue helicopter landed today.
Tasman

About 9am today, Police received a report that a woman had become severely hypothermic at high altitude in Nelson Lakes National Park.

A helicopter with a medical crew and Police were dispatched to the scene.

Unfortunately, the 55-year-old woman was already deceased when the helicopter located her on the Mount Robert Ridge.  

She was tramping with a family member and victim support services have been provided.

“Police extend their sympathies to her family and friends,” says Sergeant Malcolm York, SAR Coordinator.

“This is a truly tragic incident that followed what could have been another unfortunate event the evening before.”

Around 7pm yesterday in Nelson Lakes National Park two trampers were rescued in deep snow at high altitude only a short distance from where the deceased woman was located this morning.

Emergency services were alerted when the couple encountered deep snow on their route up Mount Robert Ridge.

Late yesterday afternoon they were able to call 111 in a small pocket of cell phone coverage.

They were located 1,800 meters above sea level and approximately four kilometres from their intended hut.

With the fading light the Nelson Rescue Helicopter was dispatched carrying members of the Nelson LandSAR Alpine team.

The helicopter crew spotted the trampers’ head lights with night vision goggles and lifted them to safety.

In both of these incidents the parties started their trips into very exposed, snow-covered alpine routes in inappropriate weather conditions.

Snow was falling and the wind was extreme taking the wind chill down to as low as -16 degrees.

"It is important to monitor proposed weather conditions and make good decisions around them, and the risk that inclement weather poses to your intended trip. Consider the time of day you are setting out, know your limitations and make sure you have appropriate clothing and equipment with you,” says Sergeant York.

“Thankfully yesterday the trampers were located in time, but it could easily have been a different story.”

ADVICE FOR TRAMPERS:

It’s always best to plan your trip.  These days a personal locator beacon should always be taken on back country routes. 

Beacons can be a lifesaving tool as it means emergency services will be aware that something has happened much faster if you do get injured or lost. These beacons don't have to be purchased, they can be hired out on a day-by-day basis.

Becoming lost or injured happens, but there are things to do which will mitigate this risk and a little preparation will go a long way.

If you are fit then you are a lot more resilient if you do have a fall or suffer from an injury.

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:

  • Plan your trip
  • Tell someone reliable your plans
  • Be aware of the weather and make good decisions around it
  • Know your limits
  • Make sure you are adequately equipped for your intended trip
  • Take sufficient supplies

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre