Couple rescued in middle of the night after getting lost on Mt Ruapehu for 12 hours as 'intense' weather set in

Mt Ruapehu (generic image).
Mt Ruapehu (generic image). Photo credit: Getty Images


Two hikers have been rescued after becoming lost in intense weather and spending more than 12 hours on Mt Ruapehu.

The couple had left the Iwikau Village Carpark at 8.30am to walk to the crater, Ruapehu SAR coordinator constable Mark Bolten said.

They had the intention of reaching it around midday and being off the mountain by the time bad weather set in.

But fog was heavy and torrential rain was already falling by the time they reached the crater.

Police were contacted when the couple realised the lack of visibility had caused them to become lost after several hours of walking.

Bolten said he received the report at 7.40pm.

"Weather events around the district had already caused severe flooding and slips in places and forced them off the track when visibility became extremely difficult," he said.

"A mobile locate was sent which placed the couple now in an area, where other hazards, such as cliff faces, and the now flooded streams were raging.

"Police assembled a team of volunteers from the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue organisation who at around 11pm, as skies started to clear located the pair, cold, wet, and very fatigued."

The conditions means getting them off the mountain had to be done on foot, Bolten said.

"After a very slow and painful walk assisted by the volunteers, they arrived safely off the mountain around four hours later.

"Luckily, they did not receive any injures, however not everyone is this lucky."

The rescue served as a reminder for hikers to be prepared, he said.

People should tell friends or family where they are going, have a personal locator beacon, and take weather forecasts seriously.

"Getting it wrong in an alpine environment can be deadly."