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Rescued trampers share their stories of being stuck in remote Fiordland during severe weather

Two trampers have given a first-hand account of what it was like to be trapped on a track in Fiordland National Park, and rescued, as severe weather slams the region. 

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Liam Loftus and Craig Lewis were taken by helicopter to Te Anau after heavy rain caused river and lake levels to rise. Source: 1 NEWS

Liam Loftus and Craig Lewis were hiking separately, but were both rescued today from the Hollyford Track. 

Mr Loftus says he hadn't seen anyone for three days and attempted to walk out of the track this morning. He told 1 NEWS the sound of helicopters sent him back to the hut. 

"This morning when I went down, I had to make a judgement of whether to try and push on. I decided to come back to the hut at least it was dry and I had enough food I could wait it out," he said.

He also had an emergency beacon on him.

"I had a beacon with me. I knew that was there as an option," he said. 

"The lake level really changed it for me. I knew I would have to use the beacon at some point or a helicopter would come in."

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Four people can be seen in a hanging yellow netting as they fly over bush. Source: Supplied

Every time the helicopter would come by, Mr Loftus said he would go outside so they could see someone was there. 

"They came down and asked me what my situation was. They said I’d have to come out so we then went out and picked up two more on the trail and three of us came out together," he said. 

One of Mr Loftus' fellow trampers the helicopter had picked up was Craig Lewis. He was walking out of the track when he got stuck, and rescued, and doesn't remember the river that was trapping him actually existing on his way in.

"It must have been a small creek but it was extremely fast flowing, up to my hips and the top of my thighs to start with," said Mr Lewis. 

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"It was not going to be passable no matter what." 

Mr Lewis said he was just going to sit and wait until the river went down, but then the helicopter found him. 

Both of the men were today bused to a community centre in Te Anau and were given food and accommodation. 

Around 100 people were evacuated from the Hollyford track and nearby Routeburn Track due to the extreme weather.

A state of emergency has today been declared in the Southland region, including Gore. It follows a state of emergency declared yesterday for Fiordland.