The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter has airlifted man to Nelson Hospital after his float plane crash landed. Photo/ Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter

UPDATE: Kahurangi party helicoptered home


A family adventure for two men and their four young children ended with a ride home in the rescue helicopter on Monday.

The families set out for an overnight trip to the Cobb Valley in the Kahurangi National Park, with the plan to come home again on Sunday. But heavy snow on Saturday night meant the road was impassable and they called for help from police, from a nearby emergency phone.

The group drove to the hut in four-wheel drive vehicles and were well-equipped with camping gear and food. But after spending two cold nights in a small hut, police say they were delighted to have been flown out.

“They were in very good spirits and no issues at all,” said sergeant Malcolm York, of Nelson. “Medically, they were fine just a little bit cold after their night sheltering in one of the huts in the area. They had firewood and were able to look after themselves.”

He says the concerning thing about the rescue was the age of the children involved. “That there were four very young children, two three year olds and two five year olds. Specifically given the age of the young children involved we sent the rescue helicopter up this morning.”

After the helicopter arrived at Nelson airport the four children could be seen running towards their families as their fathers tried to shield them from media.

The families refused to speak with media once inside the helicopter hanger and asked that their children not be identified.

Sargent York says what caught them out was the weather and specially that they didn’t check the weather forecast before they went up.

“That road was showing as open but there was snow warning for the area and they never picked that up. Cobb Rd is now completely closed to snow. It’s a tight and treacherous road without the snow, with the snow on it, it’s completely impassable.”