A group of hikers have been rescued after being forced to spend two nights stranded in a Snowy Mountains blizzard.
Two men, 33 and 36, and two women, both 34, set off from Thredbo Village on Sunday. Police say they had hoped to explore the back country of the Kosciuszko National Park but the weather, already hazardous, took a turn for the worse.
As the day progressed, blizzard-like conditions picked up with strong winds and low visibility.
By 5pm the group had found a hut to shelter in and phoned emergency services.
The Alpine Operations Unit headed out on Monday with officers on the back of over-snow vehicles.
However by 1.30pm they were forced to turn back due to worsening conditions.
The group were told to buckle down for a second night inside Seamans Hut with a severe weather warning issued for the region over the next few days.
Fortunately officers from the Alpine Operations Unit, including two attached to the Monaro Police District and an officer from the Communications Group, were able to safely reach the hut on Tuesday morning and discovered the group, safe and well, at 10am.
Deadly warning to alpine hikers
While the hikers were prepared with suitable clothing, food and water, NSW Police are urging others not to underestimate the conditions in alpine areas.
They’re also encouraging hikers to always consider the risks of venturing past the safety of ski resorts in winter.
“Visitors should expect bad weather and come prepared with the right thermal clothing, and plan their journeys ahead of time,” the police media release read.
“Hikers, no matter how experienced, should stick to the tracks as whiteouts and snow clouds can quickly and easily disorientate.”
Hikers are also encouraged to fill in a Trip Intention Form and hire a Personal Locator Beacon before heading out into the national park.
Skiers and snowboarders are also reminded to stay in their designated areas.
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