Rescued Czech tramper 'did the right thing'

Lake Mackenzie Hut (supplied)
Lake Mackenzie Hut (supplied)

A survival expert says a Czech tramper's decision to stay a month in an alpine hut, rather than try and find her way out of the mountains alone, probably saved her life.

Pavlína Pížová's partner Ondrej Petr fell down a slope after the couple got caught in a snowstorm while tramping the Routeburn Track in the South Island. Mr Petr died, while Ms Pížová spent two days in the open before reaching the Lake Mackenzie Hut.

 She was found after writing the letter 'H' in the snow using ash.

"Most people experience survival for the very first time when they're in a survival situation. It's not a very good place to be," SOS Survival Training's Stu Gilbert said on Paul Henry this morning.

"The biggest thing you've got to do is control your emotions. Don't panic. If you can't do that, [your chances of survival] diminish."

Spending a month in a remote hut rather than trying to escape might "sound a little bit strange", but Mr Gilbert says she did the right thing.

So did a couple who found themselves stranded on East Fayu Island in Micronesia, north of Papua New Guinea, last week. Linus and Sabina Jack were found at the weekend after writing 'SOS' in the sand on a beach.

Rescued Czech tramper 'did the right thing'

The Jacks on the beach (US Navy)

"You've got to do something - no point in hugging trees or living under bushes," says Mr Gilbert, who's taught survival skills to members of the Air Force.

"What this couple did was put a ground-to-air code - in this case an SOS. 'HELP' or a V is also internationally recognised."

Ms Pížová admitted she and her partner made a number of mistakes despite their experience, including not carrying a locator beacon, not letting anyone know their intentions and underestimating the winter conditions.

The couple who landed on East Fayu Island had limited supplies and no emergency equipment, but luckily found enough natural supplies to construct a shelter.