More than 20 motorcyclists became trapped in snow after ignoring "road closed" signs and bypassing a locked gate on the Danseys Pass road in Central Otago.
Sergeant Ian Kerrisk says Alexandra police were left shaking their heads in disbelief: the decision to travel past warning signs and locked gates was foolish, to say the least.
The group had intended travelling over the pass to a motorcycle event in Central Otago but got trapped just below the summit and spent seven hours trying to walk to safety before being rescued.
Some near end of endurance
The rescue operation involved police, ambulance, Search and Rescue volunteers, the local 4WD club, a commercial grader and a local farmer with a large tractor.
They found the riders strung out along the road, some nearing the end of their endurance.
Sergeant Kerrisk says their actions could well have resulted in the loss of life. He says charges are unlikely, but a donation to the local Search and Rescue team wouldn't go astray.