18 Jan 2021

Police needed 4WDs to rescue group in Central Otago

3:46 pm on 18 January 2021

Police are urging people to check forecasts and have bad weather back-up plans after they had to use four-wheel drive vehicles to rescue six people in Central Otago.

The network of 4WD tracks on top of Old Man Range, Central Otago, are themselves relics of the quest for gold in these hills.

The network of 4WD tracks on top of Old Man Range in Central Otago. Photo: Mark Wilson

Emergency services were called at 9pm last night to the Old Man Range near Alexandra after a vehicle broke down in snowy conditions.

Central Otago Area Response Manager Senior Sergeant Clint Wright said the group had initially started at Gorge Creek but ran into difficulty on the way to Duffers Saddle.

"The weather at the time had turned and it had begun to snow," Wright said.

"Initially plans were considered to try and have the vehicle towed however this was not possible."

Instead he said the police decided to send two four wheel drive vehicles to pick them up in the morning, and found them safe and well shortly after 8am.

"This incident is a timely reminder that the weather in this area can be changeable at this time of year," Wright said.

"Police encourage people to check weather forecasts and make contingency plans for bad weather."

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