New Zealand incidents

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Australian dies on routeburn track

Postby wayno » Sat 07 Dec, 2019 7:15 am

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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 6:34 pm

Would the White Island eruption be considered under this thread? Suspect there’ll be quite a few more in trouble.


New Zealand volcano: At least five dead after White Island eruption https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-50708727
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 8:46 pm

Really tough situation. Police saying 'double digit' number of people believed to be still on the island but it's currently too unsafe to attempt to rescue them.

Was a volcanologist on the ABC who advised there is a possibility that large amounts of scalding steam is venting from the island. So that could be whats preventing access.

Given most of those who made it off the island this afternoon had burns that seems like a real challenge for rescue operations.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 9:17 pm

Awful situation. Unprepared and unexpected. The injured are suffering and can not be rescued. Hope the condition improves quickly and they can be rescued.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 9:24 pm

Worse news.

Police now saying that after extensive aerial observations they do not believe anyone remains alive on the island.

Drone and other observation equipment to be deployed by the nz defense force for a closer look at first light.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/11805873 ... and-erupts
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 10:40 pm

Terrible! Apart from the heat, the Sulfur and poisonous gases would have added the insult. RIP.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 2:37 am

either the blast itself or toxic gas would have quickly rendered unconscious anyone too close to the blast.
there were australians on the island. condolences to the loved ones of those affected
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 4:46 am

From stuff.co.nz

Four helicopters were able to land on the island and remove people in the immediate aftermath of the eruption: One Westpac rescue helicopter, two private helicopters, and a Volcanic Air helicopter. A fifth was unable to land.
It is understood there were two groups of people on the island. All the people helicopters were able to remove were from one group. The second group was much closer to the crate and could not be accessed.


8 people now said to be unaccounted-for feared dead. 47 people in total believed to be on island when it erupted.
5 confirmed dead. 31 currently in hospital.3 discharged from hospital.

Boats and helicopters were involved in intial rescue operations.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/11805873 ... and-erupts

Terrible situation.:(
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 7:55 pm

There’s now a criminal probe over the tragedy. I’d suspect the protocol has been followed, just the threshold for cessation of your is on the high side after the fact. This is risk, always a continuum and always the unexpected. The cost of participating in risky activities.
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white island

Postby wayno » Fri 13 Dec, 2019 5:25 pm

GPSGuided wrote:There’s now a criminal probe over the tragedy. I’d suspect the protocol has been followed, just the threshold for cessation of your is on the high side after the fact. This is risk, always a continuum and always the unexpected. The cost of participating in risky activities.


Police retract White Island 'criminal' investigation announcement; coroner probe instead
https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zea ... be-instead

White Island eruption: Was tragedy a management failure?
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/arti ... IcE0V0XVm8

Whakaari/White Island tours: The future for volcano tourism in New Zealand
https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/118 ... 6Jfc8V8MSE

Whakaari/White Island eruption: How close do tourists get to the crater?
https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/118 ... NkwotyqOpw
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Flooding issues and damage in Fiordland

Postby wayno » Tue 04 Feb, 2020 2:46 pm

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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby andrewa » Wed 05 Feb, 2020 8:19 pm

Yep. So glad I’m not going to fish the streams on the west of Te Anau next week....am off to Kahurangi.

When we fished Fiordland a few years ago, NW Nelson got washed out. Everything relies on fingers being crossed, stars aligned, and ducks lined up in the wall....

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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby lseries92 » Thu 06 Feb, 2020 7:33 pm

Just received an email from DoC outlining some of the track closures in Fiordland:

* Due to the damage caused by the weather event [on the 3rd Feb], the Milford Track will be closed to the public for at least three weeks while the Department of Conservation understands and seeks to undertake the critical repair work. We are aware of significant damage to the Milford end of the track with some of our early assessments.

* The Routeburn Track sustained significant damage and will not reopen this season and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The track will require considerable repair work to be operational.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Fri 07 Feb, 2020 3:27 am

lseries92 wrote:Just received an email from DoC outlining some of the track closures in Fiordland:

* Due to the damage caused by the weather event [on the 3rd Feb], the Milford Track will be closed to the public for at least three weeks while the Department of Conservation understands and seeks to undertake the critical repair work. We are aware of significant damage to the Milford end of the track with some of our early assessments.

* The Routeburn Track sustained significant damage and will not reopen this season and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The track will require considerable repair work to be operational.


hte only damage i know of on the routeburn is at the southrn end, if thats the case you could potentially do an in and out trip at the other end,, and you might be able to do the same on the milford from the te anau end

they cancelled everyones bookings on the paparoa when only the middle of the track was closed and people could do a partial rebooking...

when they initially closed the paparoa it was for a few weeks but it wasnt enough then they canned all the holiday season bookings at the last minute and there was a lot of backlash, that may be why they have closed the routeburn for the season rather than find they havent closed it long enough and end up upsetting peoples plans at the last minute.... esp given all the other bookings tourists have to make to get themselves to and from the routeburn but what may happen now is the people who are there and still going to the region will flood other nearby tracks and overfill huts that dont need booking. greenstone caples and hollyford have no road access either. no idea when they will
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby lseries92 » Fri 07 Feb, 2020 11:51 am

Funny you mention the road access issues for the other tracks in the area - my plans were to walk Milford, the Hollyford, and Greenstone/Caples (entering/leaving at the Divide end rather than the Greenstone Shelter end) between the 24th Feb and 10th March. The Greenstone/Caples may open soonish if there is no damage although I may have to change my route to start at Greenstone Shelter if the access from the Divide end is still closed (I assume due to the landslide at Howden).

As for cancelling, I can understand them giving heaps of notice and taking a pessimistic approach to how long it will take to fix the tracks like the Milford and Routeburn. It may annoy some people (especially if they are travelling from the other side of the world) but it is definitely worse to leave them in limbo right up until their booking date making it difficult to rearrange things.

I have already started looking at other options like the Kepler (which is fairly full unless you skip Luxmore) and the Humpridge.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Fri 07 Feb, 2020 1:17 pm

theres extensive damage to the track near the divide road end.... there may well be significant damage elsewhere. after a metre of rain in 60 hours....
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Sat 08 Feb, 2020 5:17 am

priveate guided operation ultimate hikes are claiming on their facebook page they think they will have their clients back on the routeburn by the end of Feb.
DOC have ultimate control of the track and esp if there's construction work going on they consider a health and safety risk to the public, they can keep it closed

Ultimate Hikes
15 hrs ·
4.45pm Friday 7th February

Our apologies for the delay in updating you.

Following extensive discussions with the Department of Conservation we regret to advise that we have to cancel departures on the Milford Track until 16th February inclusive and on the Routeburn track until the 29th February at this time.

You may be aware that DOC have cancelled all independent walkers on the Routeburn Track for the rest of the season. We accept that the track has suffered some severe damage but we are not yet prepared to rule out being able to walk the track later in the season. We would only do this if we thought it was safe and that any contingencies covering affected areas did not compromise the quality of your experience. To this end, we have not yet cancelled departures in March and April.

DOC management are currently walking through the Milford Track, and our senior operations manager and guides are doing the same tomorrow.

We sincerely appreciate your patience while we work through the issues associated with this unprecedented event. Our guest services team have been under extreme pressure and we will be operating on a reduced roster over the weekend to give them a break.

Refunds will be done over the next few days.

We will not reasonably have any further updates until Monday, but should the situation change we will post them on our facebook page and website.

If you are emailing us, please provide your full name and booking reference to assist us with your enquiry.

Thank you.

Noel Saxon

General Manager
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Tramper deaths at Mt Aspiring National Park

Postby wayno » Tue 11 Feb, 2020 3:30 am

Tramper deaths at Mt Aspiring National Park in 'extraordinary' weather

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/119374 ... ional-park
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Re: Tramper deaths at Mt Aspiring National Park

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 11 Feb, 2020 7:42 am

wayno wrote:Tramper deaths at Mt Aspiring National Park in 'extraordinary' weather

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/119374 ... ional-park


Sad. Two people confirmed dead and a third missing.

I dont know the circumstances however considering they were found in the Makarora River Im assuming they were tramping around the Wilken / Young Valleys.

The thing is there are jetboat transfers available for river crossings and if crossing the makarora a bridge further downstream at blue pools. A bit of patience to wait out a stream in flood, or going the longer way around.. or having a inreach etc to call a jetboat at a risen river crossing can make a big difference for safety.

The challenge is people have planes to catch and often dont have time to wait another day or two for weather to pass.. its happened to me.. twice now in NZ. Which is why I find the sat communicators a must have. (and having an extra "weather day" built into a trip plan)
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Re: Tramper deaths at Mt Aspiring National Park

Postby wayno » Tue 11 Feb, 2020 7:55 am

wildwanderer wrote:
wayno wrote:Tramper deaths at Mt Aspiring National Park in 'extraordinary' weather

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/119374 ... ional-park


Sad. Two people confirmed dead and a third missing.

I dont know the circumstances however considering they were found in the Makarora River Im assuming they were tramping around the Wilken / Young Valleys.

The thing is there are jetboat transfers available for river crossings and if crossing the makarora a bridge further downstream at blue pools. A bit of patience to wait out a stream in flood, or going the longer way around.. or having a inreach etc to call a jetboat at a risen river crossing can make a big difference for safety.

The challenge is people have planes to catch and often dont have time to wait another day or two for weather to pass.. its happened to me.. twice now in NZ. Which is why I find the sat communicators a must have. (and having an extra "weather day" built into a trip plan)


rivers and streams can go up fast and down just as fast.... its easy to underestimate them, you get part way across or you have a narrow crossing and think you can make it, then you get to a point where its deeper and or a stronger current and you cant stay on your feet. learn how to cross together for added stability, but don't assume that you will even be able to cross as a group...
nzers are far more likely to cross as a group than foreigners. my experience is NZers are in general more cautious than foreigners. they've had a lot of interaction with rivers and a few bad ones... and theyve been taught how to assess and cross rivers and when not to cross....
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Tue 11 Feb, 2020 10:02 am

posted on facebook

" Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand

Is it time for a DOC ranger to be stationed at Makarora again? We think so.

We're seeing a lot of people being put off the Great Walks because of the cost. Coupled with the closure of the Milford and Routeburn tracks, there's increasing pressure on other multi-day experiences in the area including the Gillespie Pass circuit and Brewster Hut - tracks that require more skill and experience than Great Walks.

FMC President Jan Finlayson says having DOC staff based near the entrances to national parks was "vital".

"Not just for giving advice to recreationists, but so people understand the environment they're going into in a general sense," she said.

She urged trampers to follow the basics, such as avoiding having to cross unbridged rivers if you were not confident, and never rivers or streams in flood.

"Crossing the Makarora, especially lower down, is a really hairy undertaking.

"It's a big river, but snow-melt and rain can make even small rivers and streams rise up and become dangerous. Even small streams and creeks are big rivers in the making."

https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/wanaka/de ... e-makarora
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 11 Feb, 2020 10:11 am

Its probably a good idea. I know there is a DOC staff member who lives in makarora (or used to).

Though the more infrastructure that is put in the greater number of people it attracts. One of the biggest problems is that people tend to think there is safety in numbers.. eg if 1000s of people are doing it then it must be safe! aka white island aka tongariro crossing.

People dont read or pay attention to warnings or think enough about the safety of what they are doing. To much focus on 'having the experience', not enough on 'is it safe today to have that experience'.

Having said that.. there is still a thing as plain old bad luck. You can do everything right, take the right precautions, have the skills and experience and yet still come to grief. Such is the risk we take when exploring the outdoors.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby lseries92 » Fri 14 Feb, 2020 1:16 pm

Received the following this morning about the Milford Track

Thank you for your patience during the recent closure of the Milford Track, following the severe weather damage last week. We’ve now assessed the track and we have some good news. Thanks to some hard work from our team and a fine spell of weather it looks like DOC will be able to partially open the Milford Track earlier than anticipated.

Currently, the area remains closed and is under a Civil Defence State of Emergency. Your safety, and that of our staff is our first priority. We will continue to refund in full all walkers booked to walk up until the time we are able to partially reopen.

There is more bad weather forecast for this weekend and we will need to assess the condition of the track after that. If the track is found to be safe, our intention will be to partially open the Clinton Valley end of the Milford Track to customers who previously held bookings on the Great Walk and then to the public.

There is damage to the north/Milford Sound end of the track which cannot be fixed within this same timeframe, and will take some time to fix due to landslips and damage to bridge structures. Our intention is to open a revised walk in the south section of the Milford Track covering from Glade Wharf to Mackinnon Pass.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Fri 14 Feb, 2020 1:24 pm

lseries92 wrote:Received the following this morning about the Milford Track

Thank you for your patience during the recent closure of the Milford Track, following the severe weather damage last week. We’ve now assessed the track and we have some good news. Thanks to some hard work from our team and a fine spell of weather it looks like DOC will be able to partially open the Milford Track earlier than anticipated.

Currently, the area remains closed and is under a Civil Defence State of Emergency. Your safety, and that of our staff is our first priority. We will continue to refund in full all walkers booked to walk up until the time we are able to partially reopen.

There is more bad weather forecast for this weekend and we will need to assess the condition of the track after that. If the track is found to be safe, our intention will be to partially open the Clinton Valley end of the Milford Track to customers who previously held bookings on the Great Walk and then to the public.

There is damage to the north/Milford Sound end of the track which cannot be fixed within this same timeframe, and will take some time to fix due to landslips and damage to bridge structures. Our intention is to open a revised walk in the south section of the Milford Track covering from Glade Wharf to Mackinnon Pass.


Ultimate hikes are already telling their walkers they are going anyway on the 17th... but DOC have the last word.
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 15 Feb, 2020 7:07 am

Another death in Mt Aspiring National Park. That’s three this week. :(

https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/bo ... 5410q.html

By the reports she was hiking a trail at Mount Armstrong. (Brewster Track Id assume). On the way back down became disoriented and ended up in Pykes Creek. Body found in the canyon. Easy to see how it could happen, especially if visibility poor with rain and ground water about... and the spur looks quite fat, miss seeing a bit of the trail and think a clear path ahead is the track when in fact your heading down a different part of the spur.


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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby wayno » Sat 15 Feb, 2020 12:38 pm

she was in a canyon, it required a specialist canyoning SAR team to find her
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Re: New Zealand incidents

Postby headwerkn » Wed 19 Feb, 2020 4:15 pm

We got news of this while we were in Queenstown last week - very sad to hear. Didn't know they'd been two others the week before. Coming from Tasmania and thinking our mountains are pretty awesome and need respecting, I have to say, seeing the NZ Alps first hand was an eye opening experience.

Not exactly tramping related but there was also a death at the Tarawera Marathon in Rotarua, which my friends and I competed in.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-spo ... ramarathon

I'm assuming there's more to the story (pre existing heart issues or kidney damage from ibuprofen overuse at a guess) as people generally don't just die after a 100-miler, but still very tragic either way.
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