• Mount Wellington in winter
    Mount Wellington in winter

Eight bushwalkers have been rescued from blizzards and extreme winds on the summit of Tasmania’s kunanyi/Mt Wellington on Saturday night, as winds, rain and below-average temperatures moved across Australia’s eastern states over the weekend.

The ABC reports six people became trapped in intensifying winds and snow on Mt Wellington’s summit, which overlooks Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart, just after midday on Saturday. The group took shelter in the summit’s toilet block.

Later in the evening,a 27-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl, called for help after becoming disoriented on the mountain and sheltering behind rocks. They were taken to hospital with hypothermia.

In a press conference on Sunday, a spokesperson for Tasmania Police said the women were lucky to have been found in time.

“To be honest, these two ladies were very, very lucky to be alive. They were very dangerous conditions. Talking to the search control this morning I understand that the weather chill factor up on the mountain last night was around -6 degrees. Both of these ladies were lucky they were found in a timely manner by the rescuers,” the spokesperson said.

A search party had been sent out on Sunday afternoon to find another woman missing on Mt Wellington in the vicinity of the summit. The woman had made contact by phone, but the search had been hampered by wintry conditions.

“It is probably a timely reminder that last week we spoke about the fact that people need to be really careful before they head into the wilderness this weekend,” the Tasmania police spokesperson said.

“We certainly don’t want to discourage people from going out into the outdoors spending time in the outdoors, but we do need people to avoid taking unnecessary risks. If you are not experienced in this environment, you should consider the need to go out in it. If you do decide to go bushwalking in the snow, please make sure that you are probably prepared. The risks of something occurring are quite real.”

Read the full story here.

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