An English tourist had to be rescued after spending the night on Mt Taranaki after she got lost while on a walk. The 34-year-old was airlifted off the mountain and taken to Taranaki Base Hospital by the region's rescue helicopter just before 10am today. She had completed a traverse of the summit by herself but on the climb down the weather took a turn for the worse and she became lost.
Police received a call from the woman saying she was lost around 4.30pm yesterday. Search and Rescue teams scoured the mountain all night for the lone tramper but could not locate her in the cold wet conditions.
Police were able to make contact with the woman by text message late last night and by phone.Rescue helicopter crewman Andy Cronin explained that the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter was put on standby but could not take part in the search overnight due to bad weather."The cloud was too low for us to fly last night," said Cronin.
"We flew out around 9am with a medic and an alpine rescue volunteer."We found her just before 10am and winched her on to the helicopter.
"She was mobile and seemed quite happy for us to give her a lift to the hospital. "We were happy to find her alive and well, to find someone who was missing overnight was a happy ending for everyone involved."
Cronin said the helicopter set off around 9am with a medic and Alpine Cliff volunteer and came across the woman on the north side of the mountain above Tahurangi lodge. She was flown to Taranaki Base Hospital with suspected mild hypothermia. Thirty volunteers, Land SAR, the Alpine Cliff Rescue Squad, Amateur Radio Emergency Corp and the helicopter took part in the rescue.
Taranaki area commander, Inspector Keith Borrell said that the woman was well prepared and had taken the right equipment and told people of her intentions.
"It is a timely reminder to us all that Mt Taranaki can be a dangerous environment with very changeable weather," said Inspector Keith Borrell. "Those tramping or climbing on the mountain must ensure that they are correctly equipped with both adequate clothing and safety equipment for the environment and that they advise others of their intentions, which was the case in this instance."