Four rescued in dramatic helicopter operation after vehicle rolls in Hopkins River

Four people have been dramatically rescued from a four-wheel drive that overturned in a central South Island river.

The vehicle was driving in the Hopkins River, south of Mt Cook, on Saturday morning when the accident occurred.

The four occupants, two adults and two children, were able to climb out of the vehicle, which had rolled onto its side and sit on top.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) received the group's distress beacon alert at 9am and coordinated with the Helicopter Line to get members of the Aoraki Mt Cook Department of Conservation (DoC) Search and Rescue Team to the scene.

Otago Rescue Helicopter also went to assist.

Jono Gillian, the DoC Search and Rescue team leader, said a rope system was necessary to reach the four people while heavy rain fell. The four were on the truck for two hours before they were rescued.

A helicopter was able to hover to pick the people up, an effort which took 45 minutes.

Four rescued in dramatic helicopter operation after vehicle rolls in Hopkins River
Photo credit: Maritime New Zealand
Four rescued in dramatic helicopter operation after vehicle rolls in Hopkins River
Photo credit: Maritime New Zealand

All four were uninjured and taken to a nearby hut. From there they were taken by the Otago Rescue Helicopter to Mosgiel. They recovered enough to later head home.

"Undoubtedly, the rescuers saved four lives today," Senior Search and Rescue officer Tracy Brickles said.

"We ask people heading outdoors this weekend to make checking the forecast their first priority."

She said the rescue reinforced that distress beacons save live.

Police say they were not alerted to the incident.

Newshub.

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