A woman in her 20s has been rescued tonight after falling 15 metres down a crevasse while climbing Mt Ruapehu and being stranded there for over four hours.

Police received a distress call from a mountaineering group around 2.40pm today to say a woman in their group had fallen down the crevasse in the Whangaehu Glacier on the eastern side of Mt Ruapehu.

The climbing group could talk to the woman who had fallen, but could not see her.

The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter was immediately sent to the glacier from Taupo, via the Chateau Tongariro Hotel where it picked up members of the LandSAR Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation (RARO).

Staff from the nearby Tukino ski field remained on standby while the helicopter was on route in case poor weather hindered its ability to get to and from the glacier.

The helicopter was able to land on the crevasse at around 5pm, and the RARO team made their way 100 metres downhill to the location where the woman had fallen.

Using ropes and harnesses, the woman was lifted out of the crevasse by the team in good health and good spirits around 6.40pm.


Police said in a statement the woman climber was "lucky to escape serious injury" in the fall.

Police involved in the rescue praised the mountaineering group for their preparedness and calm during the rescue operation.