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A young German tourist called for help yesterday after being caught in darkness on Walter Peak without a torch, food or extra clothing.
He later told his rescuers a gust of wind blew his backpack away.
The 19-year-old, who was picked up by a Lakes District Air Rescue Trust helicopter about 12.30am, called 111 two hours earlier to say he had lost all his gear.
Constable Dan Andrew, of Queenstown, said the man had reached the summit and was on his way down when he lost his pack.
''He claimed that there was a sudden gust of wind that blew it off the mountain.''
After spending a few hours looking for the pack, he was caught in darkness.
''He had no food, no clothing and no light, so he couldn't make his way down,'' Const Andrew said.
''It was windy, and probably fairly cold.''
Although the man was well-equipped, losing his pack had put him in a difficult situation, and he only had about 5% battery left on his cellphone.
The helicopter's crew spotted the man after he was asked to turn on his cellphone light.
He was cold but well.
The man had kayaked across Lake Wakatipu to the foot of the mountain on Tuesday morning.