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Convoy of four-wheel-drives bring back 140 Queenstown high school students stranded on Otago camp by flood


A convoy of 60 to 70 four-wheel-drive vehicles are bringing back the remaining 140 Wakatipu High School students stranded on a school camp following heavy rain in Otago this afternoon.

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Around 140 students are being transported from 16-Mile Camp with four-wheel-drive vehicles and a helicopter. Source: 1 NEWS

The students are being picked up from McLeod Hut, and are expected to arrive back in Queenstown at around 5pm, 1 NEWS understands.

Sixteen students were earlier airlifted back to school after being stranded on the remote 16-Mile Hut in Otago.

Staff and students attend a safety briefing at 16-Mile Hut in Otago. Source: Facebook / Wakatipu High School Queenstown

It comes as heavy rain sent both Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakatipu above the high lake-level threshold, with emergency teams on standby to help should levels get higher.

"16-Mile Camp students are all out and back at school," Wakatipu High School said on Facebook.

"Huge thanks to Henry Van Asch & Phillip Rive, & Tim Barke & pilots of Helicopter Line who have supported us to make this happen - amazing community support!"

Wakatipu High School deputy principal Oded Nathan is praising the "extraordinary" response not just from parents, but also local businesses and community members. He said the students are safe and happy despite having to end their 12-day camp early.

In Wanaka, businesses were asked to consider closing ahead of a sewer system shutdown at 4pm.

It's hoped the move will prevent sewage from entering the lakes.