6 Aug 2012

Hikers safe after Ruapehu avalanches

1:45 pm on 6 August 2012

A large group of hikers feared caught in three avalanches on Mt Ruapehu have been accounted for.

The avalanches originated near the summit and came down the south-western slopes of the mountain at about 3pm on Sunday, but only one encroached on the ski area.

Mountain manager Chris Thrupp says there were 35 hikers above the ski area, walking towards the summit.

Two ski patrollers walked up to the group and helped them down.

Mr Thrupp says ski patrollers and members of the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation were called in to help in the search, and a helicopter flew over the site.

No one is thought to be injured or missing.

Mr Thrupp says the avalanches were caused by warm temperatures and still conditions.