A snow-blind 27-year-old Canadian man was rescued from Mt
Aspiring yesterday, after his father in Australia alerted
Wanaka police that his son seemed to be in trouble.
The man was watching his son's progress on the mountain on
Friday night via an internet GPS service called Spot Tracker.
Wanaka Senior Constable Emma Fleming told the Otago Daily
Times yesterday the Canadian had reached the summit of Mt
Aspiring alone on Friday.
However, about 10pm that day, the man's father alerted Wanaka
police that his son had not moved for five hours.
Snr Const Fleming said bad weather prevented any immediate
attempt to rescue the man, although a rescue was planned for
A helicopter and LandSAR Alpine cliff rescue team was
dispatched to the Mt Aspiring area but could not reach the
"They had a couple of attempts but the weather was just not
co-operating," Snr Const Fleming said.
"The avalanche danger was high and there was "a lot of snow
At noon on Saturday the man hit the "help" button on his GPS
device, indicating a non-life threatening emergency.
Using the Spot Tracker information, police could see the man
was moving backwards and forwards in a small area near Mt
French at the end of the Bonner Glacier, but he had missed
"the exit point" on the descent and was clearly lost.
"He had become stranded in bad weather and couldn't negotiate
his way down initially because he was lost, but then
subsequently, having dug himself a snow cave, he became
"So there was no way he was going to be able to get himself
Snr Const Fleming said the man knew the police were searching
for him because he had heard the helicopter.
Then, early yesterday, as the weather improved, the
helicopter and LandSAR team carried out a "snatch and grab"
operation to lift the man to safety.
Police understood he was not highly experienced in New
The man was taken to the Wanaka Medical Centre for treatment.
His condition was unavailable last night.
Snr Const Fleming said there had been quite a number of
climbers on Mt Aspiring recently. Nineteen reached the summit
on one day.