17 Jul 2017

Off-piste skier plucked to safety at 2.30am

12:41 pm on 17 July 2017

Rescuers say a woman is lucky to be alive after she got lost while skiing on Mount Ruapehu last night.

The woman was spotted down a steep gully far below the ski field.

The woman was spotted down a steep gully far below the ski field. Photo: Supplied / Police

She had been skiing outside the ski field boundary yesterday, and never arrived to meet a friend at a ski lodge in the evening.

A police rescue team found her at about 2.30am down a steep gully.

Greenlea Rescue helicopter pilot Nat Every said she was found in the bush line far below the ski field.

"It was not a nice place to be. She was pretty happy to see us. You can almost see it in their eyes when you shine the searchlight on them.

"She was very, very pleased to be found, understandably. Very, very lucky. You can only suspect that if she had been out there all night there could have been a slightly different conclusion to the story."

A rescuer was dropped to her by helicopter, and managed to pull her out of the chest deep snow and get her into the aircraft.

The police said the woman was mildly hypothermic but otherwise okay, and was very lucky to be alive.

Mr Every said it is important people let others know where they are going or go with someone else.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs