Aussie Soldier Lost On New Zealand Mountain Rescued

Airlifted to safety

Aussie Soldier Lost On New Zealand Mountain Rescued

An Australian soldier trapped by severe weather on a New Zealand mountain for nearly a week has been rescued.

Lieutenant Terry Harch, 29, was found alive and with slight frostbite on Mount Aspiring, in the South Island, on Thursday night after days of rescue efforts were frustrated by gales, sub-zero temperatures and snow.

With a brief gap opening up in the weather on Friday afternoon, he has been choppered out and is heading to Dunedin Hospital in what's been described as a "snatch and grab" by the pilot.

Four alpine rescuers equipped with clothes, tents and much-needed food spent the night with Lt Harch to await rescue as helicopters patiently waited for a window in harsh conditions on Friday.

"It had been a very difficult day," Rescue Coordination Centre officer Neville Blakemore said.

"It's a great result as we did not want the climber spending another night on the mountain."

Officials have said Lt Harch would have used his military training to survive, likely by digging out shelter in the snow.

Lt Harch is an experienced mountaineer and previously scaled Mount Cook for military charity Soldier On, which described him on Friday as an "extraordinary Australian".

He was in good spirits when found, rescuers said.

Arriving at the national park on Friday, he is thought to have left his heavier gear behind to make a quick ascent - not unusual practice - before being caught out by the weather.

The alarm was raised on Monday and rescue crews watched his beacon moving around the mountain for days as concerns grew.