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Crossing rescues prompt warning

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/07/2016

Two tourists fell in a crater on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and another was cutting steps in ice with rocks.

Police are warning tourists on the ever popular walk to be well-equipped after rescuing all three.

The 19.4lkm crossing over the volcanic terrain near Mount Tongariro in the centre of the North Island is one of the most popular day walks in the country.

At 11am on Friday police received a call from a couple in their mid-20s who slipped on ice and fell into the North Crater.

They were able to walk to the Emerald Lakes where they called police for help to deal with the icy conditions without an ice axe or crampons.

Low cloud prevented the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter from reaching them but Department of Conservation and LSAR staff on foot did the job.

They then came across a man in his late 20s using rocks to cut steps in the ice to climb Oturere Valley and rescued him as well.

All three were ultimately picked up by rescue helicopter and were flown to Mangatepopo Rd and they did not require medical attention.

Taupo Senior Constable Barry Shepherd says large numbers of tourists head into this area and they must appreciate the extreme conditions there, especially in winter.

"The mountain was very busy today with lots of people under the supervision of guided tours who know the area well and do a great job.

"I would encourage more people, especially visitors to the area, to seek advice from these people before attempting the crossing alone."

Going out in New Zealand wilderness without proper equipment is a recipe for disaster, he says.

"The conditions can change rapidly and while you start out with sunshine and clear skies, if the cloud comes over the snow can freeze, making conditions very slippery without proper equipment."

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