9 Mar 2018

Stranded tourists in Ruapehu to be evacuated

10:07 am on 9 March 2018

About 100 guests stuck at Blue Duck Station near Taumarunui are to be evacuated by helicopter later today.

Flooding, mud and debris at Blue Duck Station.

Flooding, mud and debris at Blue Duck Station. Photo: Facebook

Around 120 people were trapped yesterday afternoon, but 14 have since been airlifted out.

Work to clear the roads of slips has run into difficulty, with new slips coming down trapping machinery.

Ruapehu Emergency Management Officer Nick Watson said the decision had been made to try and fly the stranded guests out this afternoon.

He said they would also be flying in fresh supplies of food and water for about 20 people, including the lodge owners and staff who will be remaining behind.

Yesterday, helicopters delivered an electricity generator to the station.

Flooding, mud and debris at Blue Duck Station.

Flooding at Blue Duck. Photo: Facebook

Fire and Emergency said they received no weather related call outs overnight.

Residents around Gisborne have been warned the heavy rainfall was heading their way.

And flood barriers were set up in Whanganui last night but river levels have started to drop.

MetService forecaster, William Nepe, told Morning Report weather warnings still applied in several places.

There was a low sitting to the east of Gisborne and that was expected to drift away, while rain eased.

"The warning currently from Gisborne southwards, including the Wairoa District of Hawke's Bay...can expect in the area of 15 to 25 millimetres of rain an hour," he said.

Mr Nepe said thunderstorms were expected to hit the Wairoa district and coastal areas south of Tolaga Bay.

Meanwhile, part of State Highway 56 in the Horowhenua district has been closed due to flooding.

The stretch of highway in the Opiki area, has been shut off between the intersections of Tane Road and Alve Road.

Motorists are being adivsed to use State Highway 57 instead.