Searchers fail to rescue climbers overdue on New Zealand peak

Other News Materials 2 December 2008 07:44 (UTC +04:00)

Searchers failed to rescue two Japanese mountaineers overdue on New Zealand's highest peak, the 3,754-metre high Mount Cook, on Tuesday, but established that at least one of them was alive, news reports said.

Two helicopters searching for the pair, who entered the Mount Cook National Park on Wednesday and were due off the mountain on Saturday, spotted a tent near the summit and one man came out and waved, dpa reported.

But dangerously high winds stopped a rescue attempt and prevented searchers dropping an emergency bag of survival gear to the climbers, who are said to be in their 40s.

Police said the condition of the other man was not known and gale force winds, rain and low cloud have prevented a rescue party of climbers trying to reach them.

Weather reports said conditions were not expected to ease before Wednesday at the earliest.