Two backcountry Wānaka rescues as rivers rise

by Kim Bowden - Feb 03, 2023

Search and rescue teams have been busy in backcountry close to Wānaka today, responding to two separate calls for help from distressed trampers.

It comes with a message from local police as the country heads into the long Waitangi Day holiday weekend: rivers in the Mount Aspiring National Park are running high and are hazardous.

"With the current water levels and the upcoming forecast, the rivers are likely to remain dangerous," a police spokesperson says in a written statement this afternoon.

Earlier today, three people activated a personal locator beacon at Siberia Hut after the Siberia Stream became too dangerous to cross.

Then, shortly before midday, rescuers were back on the job after an individual raised an alarm when they were unable to cross the Makarora River.

Crews from Wānaka Search and Rescue, the Rescue Coordination Centre and local police responded to both events and were able to retrieve all four stranded walkers. 

"Please check river levels and speak to the locals in Wānaka before setting out on a tramp, avoiding the rivers in the park if possible," the police spokesperson says.

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