Eight trampers have been rescued from the Southern Alps after becoming trapped in bad weather.
Rescue teams were alerted to a locator beacon being set off just before 10pm on Friday.
It had been hired by Otago University staff and students - who failed to reach the Huxley Forks Hut due to heavy snow.
Land teams discovered the group near the river, with two females found to be slightly hypothermic.
A helicopter lifted them to safety around 8am on Saturday.
Senior search and rescue officer John Ashby says it could have been a different story.
"In this particular case if they hadn't got there overnight potentially those two people who developed hypothermia could have died, it's as simple as that."
Ashby said the group battled brutal blizzard conditions on the tramp, which they were aware of before they set out.
"These people did check the weather before they went, they knew the weather was going to be bad but they still continued anyway."