Otago Uni trampers back home after Alps rescue

A group of eight University of Otago trampers have returned to Dunedin after being rescued in the Southern Alps.

The group of students and staff had to be rescued early on Saturday after heavy snow stopped them from reaching the Main Huxley Forks Hut.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said an alert was received from a Personal Locator Beacon at 9.45pm on Friday with a position near to the hut.

The beacon was registered to the University of Otago and had been hired to the group who planned to reach the hut on Friday,  a six-hour tramp 18km up the Huxley valley, but couldn't get to it due to heavy snow.

The trampers were aware that bad weather was forecast, but went ahead with the tramp anyway, an RCCNZ spokesperson said. 

They were found at 5.30am yesterday by rescuers at the Huxley River, approximately 1.5km from the hut, and two people were treated for mild hypothermia.

The group then drove back to Dunedin yesterday.

A University of Otago spokeswoman said the trampers comprised friends, including two staff from Unipol, and there was no connection with the Otago University Tramping Club.

The spokeswoman understood that no hospital or medical treatment had been required after the group had left the Southern Alps, but full details were not immediately available.

The club's immediate past president, Charlotte Patterson, said no club members had taken part in the tramp and personal locator beacons had been hired from elsewhere at the university, but not from the club.

She knew little about the tramping group and could not comment on their trip.

- additional reporting ODT Online 

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