Two trampers caught by rough weather in Tararuas Rangers found 'tired and exhausted'

Two trampers in difficulty in rough weather in the Tararua Ranges north of Wellington were found cold tired and exhausted by searchers and a rescue dog in the early hours of this morning after activating a personal locator beacon.

Police say the well-prepared pair went into the ranges on Saturday night and got into difficulty due to adverse weather conditions some time later, but they had a personal locator beacon and activated it while seeking shelter. 

Due to the weather conditions, their general location was identified only, not an exact location, said Sergeant Fiona Read of Police Search and Rescue.

An Air Force helicopter crew managed severe turbulence and low cloud to transport three police-led Search and Rescue teams into the search area at about 9pm last night. 

They located the emergency beacon activated by the trampers, helping rescuers to find them at 1.30am this morning, Sergeant Read said in a statement this afternoon.  

"They were located cold tired and exhausted by SAR staff and a rescue dog," she said.

This morning the men were taken to a nearby Department of Conservation Hut, Dundas Hut, where further assistance has been given to them, such as food and dry clothing. 

"They have been assessed medically and they appear to be in good condition," Sergeant Read said.

"Another assessment was made during the night on their physical condition and the forecasted weather, and as a result, the plan is to use further assistance from the NZDF squadron to airlift them from the ranges, however the weather has not been ideal and this is yet to happen," she said. 

The plan is for the team and the trampers to be taken off the mountain when the weather clears at a later date, Sergeant Read said.

Tramping in New Zealand
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