8 Jul 2015

Skier survives avalanche in Southern Alps

9:34 pm on 8 July 2015

A man has survived being trapped in an avalanche in the Southern Alps and, in a separate incident, police have rescued a tramper in Otago.

Mount Cook

The Godley Glacier (not pictured) is located below Cumine Peak in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Photo: Unwin Lodge, Mt Cook

The Rescue Coordination Centre said a solo skier was caught in an avalanche about 11am today on the Godley Glacier.

A spokesperson, Pania Shingleton, said he managed to claw his way out but lost all his gear inside the snow.

She said the man activated a personal locator beacon at 3.15pm and a search was mounted.

He was found just after 5pm.

Ms Shingleton said the dramatic event highlighted the importance of locator beacons.

In Otago, meanwhile, a man in his early twenties was rescued today after going tramping by himself yesterday in the Rock and Pillar Range, 10 kilometres north of Middlemarch.

Police said they received a call for help from him at about 3.30pm today and he was located after a search.

They said he was ill prepared for his expedition and the conditions, and they have urged anyone heading out tramping to check the forecast.

Warning for drivers

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has been warning drivers to take extreme care on icy roads.

View the latest highway updates on the NZTA's website

A heavy snow warning is in place for the hill country between Gisborne and Wairoa.

MetService is forecasting snow as low as 100 metres in Wellington and Wairarapa, and down to 200 meters in Taihape, Tararaua and parts of Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty and Central Plateau.

The service has advised people in the area that snow could cause major disruption to traffic with blizzard conditions when combined with bitterly cold southery winds.

Much of Banks Peninsula in Canterbury is covered in snow, with the agency warning that only drivers of 4WD vehicles and those with chains should use the roads.

Snow is also forecast tonight and into tomorrow on the Rimutaka Hill Road north of Wellington with commuters urged to take the train tomorrow, as the road may well be closed.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is warning drivers to take extreme care on icy roads.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is warning drivers to take extreme care on icy roads. Photo: NZTA

South Otago cows getting stuck into breakfast.

Cows feed in the snow and ice in Otago Photo: SUPPLIED / Simon Barber