Six rescued from Old Man Range

Six people were rescued by police yesterday, after their vehicle broke down in snowy conditions on the Old Man Range, near Alexandra, at the weekend.

Police were called about 9pm on Sunday to a group stranded on their way to Duffers Saddle. They had set off from Gorge Creek earlier in the day.

Central Otago area response manager Senior Sergeant Clint Wright said the weather had turned and it had begun to snow.

"Initially, plans were considered to try to have the vehicle towed. However, this was not possible."

Officers decided it was best to rescue the group yesterday morning, using two four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Snr Sgt Wright said they were located safe and well at 8.15am.

"This incident is a timely reminder that the weather in this area can be changeable at this time of year."

He urged people to check weather forecasts and make contingency plans.

A MetService spokesman said an active trough was forecast to move east across southern and central New Zealand tomorrow.

It was likely warning amounts of rain would fall in Westland, Fiordland, and the Otago and Canterbury headwaters, and it was possible a heavy rain warning would be issued for Southland and Clutha.

"In addition, there is moderate confidence of northwest gales becoming severe over Fiordland, Southland and Otago on Wednesday, then winds turn southwest later Wednesday, with moderate risk of southwesterlies becoming severe. These winds ease on Thursday."

A ridge of high pressure would then move across New Zealand from the west later on Thursday and during Friday, he said.

"A front moves on to the South Island from the west on Saturday, bringing a period of heavy northwesterly rain to western parts of the island."

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