Eight people have been airlifted to Queenstown Lakes Hospital as heavy rain hits the Southern Lakes Ultra Marathon in the Macetown area near Arrowtown.
22 February 2023
Maritime New Zealand says they were alerted to a personal locator beacon activation about 1am this morning; a further nine have since been activated as of early this afternoon.
Seven race participants and one official have since been airlifted to Queenstown Lakes Hospital.
Te Whatu Ora earlier said five have hypothermia and one person has moderate injuries. All are in a stable condition.
The area has been experiencing heavy rain, with the Arrow River rising. The forecast isn’t expected to change for the next 24 hours.
“This has been a collaborative response, which has included New Zealand Police Search and Rescue, Fire and Emergency New Zeeland, and Queenstown rescue helicopters; we want to thank the staff on the ground who supported this rescue effort,” Rescue Coordination Centre operations manager Micheal Clulow said.
At least 110 people are participating in the marathon.
In a statement on the event’s Facebook page, organisers said that a rescue operation was underway for participants and crew due to the weather conditions.
“At this stage all athletes are safe, well and accounted for,” it said.
“Some runners have been evacuated out of the mountains and they are being cared for by crew and staff at Queenstown Lakes Hospital. These athletes are being well supported and are currently under observation.”
The multi-day ultra marathon covers approximately 250km through the Southern Lakes.