Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Australian soldier Terry Harch rescued from New Zealand mountain

Australian soldier Terry Harch rescued from New Zealand mountain

An Australian soldier trapped for days in freezing conditions on a New Zealand mountain has been saved in a dramatic rescue involving three helicopters.

A break in the weather this afternoon has allowed two helicopters to reach Terry Harch and the four rescuers who made it to him last night.

He's said to be in relatively good condition, despite his ordeal.

The signal from the private tracking device was picked up by a supplier in Texas.

The weather conditions are promising for Friday's rescue with 10km an hour south east winds which will rise to 30km by midday.

Harch parked his auto last Friday to climb the mountain and was expected back on Monday, authorities say.

Four rescuers equipped with clothes, tents and much-needed food spent the night with the man.

'We think he dug himself a snow dugout, a shelter and that's helped in his survivability over these last few days, ' Lunt told Radio New Zealand.

The rescue team earlier said he had enough provisions and equipment to stick it out for several days but search co-ordinator Neville Blakemore said the sooner they could get the climber off the mountain the better.

He said Australians make up a quarter of all mountaineering fatalities in New Zealand and that the heavy snow, strong winds and high risk of avalanche should have been taken into consideration when planning the trip.

The article said Harch had climbed the mountain previously, in 2011, and was part of an army team that did a mountain climbing course in the shadow of Mount Cook in 2007. The helicopter flew around the area for about 10 minutes when it appeared Harch heard it and walked out of either a snow shelter or the bergschrund - the first crevasse at the top of the glacier.

The climber's locator beacon had been moving throughout the week.

The wind chill is minus 16 degrees and snowfall has reached 1200m where the man is stranded, 2300m up the mountain.

Over the past decade more than 30 people have died in and around Mount Aspiring National Park, one of the country's most popular playgrounds for adventure-seekers.

Daisley stressed the risk of winter mountaineering for solo trekkers and that climbers - no matter how experienced - should use common sense.

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