Two hikers located in Kosciuszko National Park overnight after activating emergency beacon

May 3, 2023

Personal locator beacon
Two male hikers were found safe and well after setting off a personal locator beacon in Kosciuszko National Park overnight.(ABC News: Keira Proust)

Two hikers have been found after signalling for help in Kosciuszko National Park last night in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains.

A spokesperson from NSW Ambulance said they were alerted to reports that a personal locator beacon (PLB) had been activated at about 5:30pm yesterday.

NSW Police said two men, aged 26 and 27, had set out the day before and became lost on Tuesday afternoon near Mount Townsend.

“The men sought shelter under a rock outcropping where they spent the night, activating their PLB at 5pm the next day,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.

The SES, along with ambulance and Fire and Rescue crews assisted police with the search. 

The men were found about 10:15pm on Wednesday and treated for mild hypothermia, before returning to Charlotte Pass at midnight. 

“Two young males required assistance after having a bit of an adventure,” said NSW SES Snowy River Commander Mallica Bailey.

“They had all the equipment required and were doing OK.

“They were located and brought back to safety.”

Foul weather, blizzard conditions

Commander Bailey said the two men were not locals but were experienced hikers.

“They were two adults having a good time and got caught by the weather,” she said.

“It was cold and windy, and there was some snow.”

Snow forecaster Reggae Ellis said Wednesday’s weather in the area the hikers were visiting was “foul”.

“We had snow and winds gusting up to 100 kilometres per hour yesterday morning and eased in the afternoon,” he said.

Personal locator beacon
The experienced hikers were carrying appropriate equipment including a ‘Personal Locator Beacon.(ABC News: Melissa Clarke)

Mr Ellis said snow showers “kept coming through” in areas with elevations above 1,800 metres.

“Visibility would have been poor. It would have been cold and a mixture of wet snow and blizzard conditions,” she said.

Conditions in the NSW Snowy Mountains can be unpredictable and change quickly.

Mr Ellis was perplexed as to why anyone would be hiking in those conditions given the forecast.

“Everyone knew it was coming,” he said.

“It was a strange day to be out there hiking.”

Just weeks out from the official start of the ski season on the June long weekend, the search serves as a reminder to properly prepare for the Snowy Mountains.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has been advising hikers and backcountry skiers to fill out an online Trip Intention Form, which helps provide information to NSW Police in case of an emergency.

PLBs can be loaned for free at 13 locations in NSW including the Snowy Region Visitor Centre in Jindabyne and from the NPWS Perisher Valley Office.

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