17 May 2018

'Freezing' rescued man didn't think he would survive

8:01 pm on 17 May 2018

By Tracey Roxburgh for the Otago Daily Times

Two men who did almost everything wrong were recovered by a Search and Rescue team in Queenstown last night.

Seven Mile Track at Wilson Bay.

Seven Mile Track at Wilson Bay. Photo: Supplied/Department of Conservation

Acting Sergeant Terry Wood said police were called to assist a mountain biker at 5pm who had become concerned about his friend who he had separated from.

Sgt Wood said the pair were part of a group of friends who hired mountain bikes and had gone to 7 Mile, a track on the way to Glenorchy.

The Otago Daily Times reported it was there that they decided they would carry on to Moke Lake and go around to Arthurs Point.

"There was bad weather forecast, and bad weather came in,'' he said.

The front arrived about 3.30pm, starting with hail and then turning into ''freezing cold rain''.

Sgt Wood said the rest of the group turned back, however, the two men continued on, before they ''ended up separating''.

One man was located near Arthurs Point, on the Moonlight Track, having called police when he got cell phone reception.

"He was very cold, very wet and concerned about his friend.

"Police put out a vehicle and were considering a [helicopter] when he was located near Sepperstown, between Moke Lake and Arthurs Point.''

The 27-year-old, from Belgium, was found about 8.30pm and ''believed he wouldn't make the night, he was that cold''.

However, he did not require medical attention and was speaking coherently and able to walk himself out.

"He was concerned for his own safety.

"[They] were badly dressed and they underestimated the [track], their ability and the weather.

"They were dressed in street gear and one of them had an extra light plastic poncho.

"They had no food and no water.

"Other than that it was alright."

This story originally appeared in the Otago Daily Times.