Late night rescue for mountaineer

A 64-year-old English solo mountaineer was rescued from the western slopes of Mt Mabel, 7km south of Aoraki Mt Cook, at around 11pm last night after slipping on snow and injuring a leg on rocks.

The man, from Leeds, activated his UK-registered personal locator beacon at around 8pm and the UK Coastguard, which handles beacon registration in the United Kingdom, notified the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Dave Wilson said the Greymouth rescue helicopter, which is equipped with night vision equipment, was directed to the scene, picking up a member of the alpine cliff rescue team from Fox Glacier village en route.

The injured man was found in a very steep gully at around 10.30pm and the cliff rescue team member winched down to assess his situation. He was then winched aboard the helicopter and taken to Mt Cook village for a medical assessment.

“The helicopter crew have done a great job in reasonably challenging circumstances. While it was a clear, calm night, the man was in a very tight position with little room to move,” Mr Wilson said.

“His leg injury is not thought to be serious but he was not able to walk without assistance.”