It's a small world, thanks Texas

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It's a small world, thanks Texas

Postby Russ » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:32 pm

It truely is a small world.

Russ



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Texas connection helped locate Australian soldier trapped on Mt Aspiring for 3 freezing nights

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JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN / STUFFMt Aspiring rescue
Jo McKenzie-McLean / Stuff
Rescuers preparing to leave on a helicopter to Mt Aspiring.

An Australian soldier who survived three nights alone in sub-zero conditions on Mt Aspiring was only located after a private beacon operator in the United States called New Zealand's Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCCNZ).

The 29-year-old was trapped on the Central Otago mountain for three days before rescuers reached him on Thursday evening. They are now waiting for the weather to clear so a helicopter can airlift him to hospital. He is believed to have mild frostbite.

Wanaka Search and Rescue chairman Bill Day said the climber was not carrying a modern beacon but had borrowed an older-model private tracking device from a friend.

Search and Rescue teams on the scene at Mt Aspiring.
SOUTHERN LAKES HELICOPTERS/SUPPL
Search and Rescue teams on the scene at Mt Aspiring.

The device sent a signal to a private supplier in Texas.

READ MORE:
*Safety fears for Australian climber missing on Mt Aspiring near Wanaka
*Specialist rope teams and dog brought in to look for missing man
*Missing on New Zealand's highest peak

"He rang the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in New Zealand then they called us with the positions."


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Senior search and rescue member Jeff Lunt said they’re hopeful to have a helicopter land to rescue the climber missing since Tuesday.

The rescuers efforts were complicated because two different positions were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday. They were about 2km away from each other.

A modern beacon would have pinpointed his position more accurately and immediately, Day said.

"I don't think it affected things this time as no matter what, we couldn't have got in because of the weather."

The climber set off up the Mt Aspiring "alone and lightly packed".
LIZ CARLSON
The climber set off up the Mt Aspiring "alone and lightly packed".

A loud cheer went up at the rescue base in Wanaka when he was found on Thursday night, Day said.

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The team had "extensive difficulties" accessing the area due to cloud and avalanche risk and finally flew in from the Haast Pass late on Thursday afternoon.

The helicopter was flying around the area for about 10 minutes when it appeared the man heard it and walked out of either a snow shelter or the bergschrund — the first crevasse at the top of a glacier.

The Australian climber missing on Mt Aspiring has been found, but is waiting to be airlifted to safety.
The Australian climber missing on Mt Aspiring has been found, but is waiting to be airlifted to safety.

"It's a good place to hide to get out of the weather," Day said.

A team of four Alpine Cliff Rescue volunteers – three man and one woman – were prepared to traverse the Bonar Glacier in skis to get to the man, which would have taken a couple of hours, but were able to land about 20 minutes ski away instead.

It was not possible for the team and the man to walk out of the area because of the avalanche risk, he said.

The team is now waiting for the break in the weather to airlift him directly to Dunedin Hospital.

RCCNZ senior search and rescue officer Geoff Lunt told RNZ on Friday morning he believed the man's army survival training saved his life.

"That's helped him with his survivability over the last few days."

The soldier, on leave in New Zealand, was described as being in "good spirits" despite spending just over three days in freezing temperatures, 50-60-kilometre winds and heavy snow at times.

It was "extraordinary" he was found alive with "slight frostbite", said RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Mike Roberts.

An Alpine Rescue team and a paramedic spent a night with the Australian where he was found just north of the plateau at Quarterdeck Pass.

RCCNZ spokeswoman Pania Shingleton said as soon as the weather cleared on Friday, the Southern Lakes and Aspiring helicopters would be sent to fly the man and four rescue crew members off the mountain.

"The rescue crew, brought down a tent, change of clothes and some hot food for him, so I'm sure he is feeling a lot better than he has in the last two nights."

"We give all due high praise to the Wanaka Alpine Rescue crew and helicopter crews and police, they've been just amazing."

COLD TEMPERATURES UP MOUNTAIN

There are 10kmh south-east winds, which are expected to rise to 30kmh by 12pm on Friday. The wind chill is -16 degrees Celsius with scattered rain easing late on Friday morning. The snow level is at 1200m and the party is currently at about 2300m up Mt Aspiring.

MetService meteorologist Melissa Oosterwijk said the weather had improved since Thursday night, but there was still some rain and low cloud about in the Wanaka area with temperatures of -1 degrees Celsius.

There was also low risk of thunderstorms early on Friday morning, she said.

CLIMBER TRIGGERED BEACON

The man had parked his car on Friday, July 27, to climb the mountain and was expected back on Monday, July 30.

A friend advised police on Monday, the man was missing and the climber triggered his beacon about 12.15pm that day. He has been on his own for nearly seven days in freezing conditions, 50-60 km an hour winds and at times heavy snow.

RCCNZ said the rescue should serve as a warning for trampers and climbers in winter that they need to be properly prepared and carry a beacon.

Mountain Safety Council chief executive Mike Daisley said he was relieved the man had narrowly avoided death.

"We knew from our insights that 25 per cent of mountaineering fatalities in New Zealand are from Australia, so we're very glad he's been found OK."


"Winter mountaineering is a high risk, high reward activity, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. However, there's a degree of common sense that's got to come into the planning of trips like this, especially if you're solo.

"I think he's probably sat there going over where he went wrong for many hours wondering if this would be the end for him. It would have been a bloody scary situation to be in."

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.

- Stuff

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allenayres
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Re: It's a small world, thanks Texas

Postby allenayres » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:21 am

:cheers: Great story
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Re: It's a small world, thanks Texas

Postby Rambo » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:39 am

:texas:

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