Tourists who had to be rescued in sub zero conditions from a mountain in the South Island may owe their lives to cellphone coverage.
An Irish woman and Latvian man spent the night in minus 18 degree temperatures at Nelson Lakes National Park before a short break in the weather enabled crews to rescue them yesterday afternoon.
Department of Conservation services manager John Wotherspoon said tourists should not have been there in the first place, as it was snowing heavily.
He said by the time they were found they were hypothermic, and beyond the point of making rational decisions.
Mr Wotherspoon says the pair called for help themselves, and it was lucky they had cellphone coverage of things could have turned out very differently.