Cost of Otago 4WD rescue mission rises another $11k

The cost to rescue 38 four wheel drive enthusiasts who became stuck in snow near Roxburgh in May just went up another $11,000.

The group arrived at the Roxburgh Football Club following a large rescue mission provoked by a surprise snowstorm. Source: 1 NEWS

The group was on a day trip when snow trapped them on the Waikaia Bush Road, on Old Man Range in Otago.

The New Zealand Defence Force flew their NH90 helicopter to the scene in an effort to rescue the stranded group.

A spokesman said the direct flying costs for the Waikaia Road task in May totalled $11,532.

"Part of the NZDF outputs is support to other Government agencies and this includes the New Zealand Police," he said.

Hear from Daniel who was among the 36 stuck on a Central Otago road, Chris Coory from Dunedin Search and Rescue and Inspector Olaf Jensen who has some advice for the adventurous Source: 1 NEWS

"The costs associated with tasks in support of other Government agencies are allocated for in the annual flying budget, which is set at the start of the financial year.

"Tasks such as the Waikaia Road search and rescue also allow us to gain valuable experience and training opportunities that we can apply in humanitarian and disaster relief scenarios and stability and security operations."

Yesterday, police released the figure of their rescue effort - $56,927.53.

That puts the total cost of the rescue at $68,459.53, not including the volunteer hours of NZ Land and Rescue personnel.

Police Inspector Olaf Jensen pointed out that "cost is never a factor over the safety and welfare of those needing assistance when determining the appropriate course of action or which resources to use."

One of the 4WD drivers, Curtis Martelli, said he's just happy everyone got out alive and is safe.