Two families rescued after being trapped by snow for nearly 24 hrs

Track the rescue operation here

Two families with four young children have been rescued after they were trapped by snow after spending an unplanned night in the remote Kahurangi National Park.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter flew into the South Island Department of Conservation estate to pick up the stranded party this morning before the weather worsened and flying became impossible.

Helicopter pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford said the two families, which included two dads and four youngsters, were in good spirits after they were caught out by the weather on a weekend overnight trip.

Police said the men, two three-year-olds and two five-year-olds, were a little cold but otherwise okay.

The families had set off in their four-wheel-drive vehicles with equipment and provisions for a one-night stay in a hut on Saturday but became trapped by snow when weather conditions worsened.

They encountered additional problems when one of the two vehicles slipped off the road into a ditch.

The party raised the alarm yesterday morning before piling into one vehicle and driving to a separate deer lodge on Cobb Valley Rd to spend the night.

Search and Rescue were in constant contact with the group. It was decided an air rescue was the best option to bring the party out as weather conditions looked to deteriorate later today.

There were no immediate concerns for safety as they were in shelter with food and had supplies to keep warm.

Douglas-Clifford said the group were well-prepared for their ordeal with plenty of food and good communication.

After today's successful rescue Nelson Bays Police Sergeant Malcolm York said it was essential to check weather forecasts before setting out into back-country areas or the bush.

"Roads can be open and weather can be settled before you head out, but especially at this time of year it doesn't take long before conditions can change and get you in to trouble," he said.

Metservice meteorologist Kyle Lee said conditions were harsh overnight but luckily for everyone involved the area was warming up this morning.

- NZ Herald

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