Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

'Extraordinary': Aussie climber rescued in NZ

'Extraordinary': Aussie climber rescued in NZ

The 29-year-old was found alive and "with slight frostbite" on Mount Aspiring, in the South Island, on Thursday night after days of rescue efforts were frustrated by gales, subzero temperatures and snow.

He said it was wonderful that Harch was able to stand up and wave when the helicopter arrived. "The helicopter crews, Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team and Police all deserve the highest praise for the work they've done over the past two days - and particularly tonight".

Rescue Coordination Centre NZ Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts said the surivavl was 'extraordinary'.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Officer Geoff Lunt said an attempt was made last night to reach the last known position of the climber.

Mr Lunt said weather conditions are promising.

There were 10km/h south-east winds in the morning, which were expected to rise to 30km/h by noon.

Snow is at 1200m and the climber and rescue team are now about 2300m up Mt Aspiring. Rescue teams were able to reach him on Thursday and were amazed that he still had energy to stand and had suffered little injuries during such extreme conditions.

The climber's locator beacon had been moving throughout the week.

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"Matic came from the World Cup with an injury and the time he had to rest on holiday was not enough to resolve the problem", manager Jose Mourinho said.


Authorities said the man had survived strong winds, heavy snow and temperatures that, when the wind-chill was factored in, had fallen to minus-16 Celsius (3 Fahrenheit) in the Southern Hemisphere winter.

They had warm clothing, tents and food to look after him for the night.

Mr Daisley warned mountaineering is a "high risk activity" that requires a certain amount of "common sense" to plan, particularly if you are trekking alone.

Daisley said a lot of people were hoping for the best but feared the worst.

An Australian Defence spokesperson this evening confirmed the man was an Australian Army soldier on leave in New Zealand.

"We do not know the full extent of his alpine experience but we do know he has some, including climbing in New Zealand and building snow caves".

The region has seen a lot of fresh snow in the past few days.

"It's an unbelievable outcome; The rescue agencies that coordinated and responded to this tricky situation deserve a huge thanks for their skill and tenacity". I know he's come a long way to tick this one off, but it's just not worth the ultimate price.

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