A couple of snowboarders are lucky to be alive after shivering through 26 hours of snowfall in Tasmania on Sunday night and yesterday.
The two men, aged in their 30s, were rescued last night after Tasmania Police flew in via helicopter to reach them. Police say they spent more than a day in sub-zero temperatures inside their Subaru WRX, which became snowbound on Lake Dobson Rd in Tasmania’s Mt Field National Park.
Their stay was extended when the police helicopter, which was about to attempt to winch them out in the afternoon, was forced to turn back as another spell of bad weather blew in.
It took Police Marine and Rescue Sergeant Paul Steane, two volunteer walkers, Stornaway contractors in a truck and a tractor, two police 4WDs and more chainsaw-wielding volunteers to cut, plough and slog their way through to the men in the evening.
Fortunately, they were still alive and had been keeping themselves warm by turning the engine off and on, although The Mercury reports they didn’t have a lot of food left.
“They were pleased to see us – they didn’t want to spend another night out there,” Sgt Steane told The Mercury.
The helicopter spotted several more groups trapped in the park, but police said they were better prepared than the two snowboarders. The rescue helicopter will head up again today to check on their welfare.
It’s been a chilly winter on the Apple Isle, even by Tasmanian standards, with reports of Central Highlands town Liaweenee reaching the coldest minimum in Australia since records began, -12C.
July was below average, but despite suffering a seemingly endless run of frosty mornings across the state, there was comparatively no rain, and generally poor snowfalls. Until yesterday, when southern Tasmanians suddenly found their favourite surf spot had turned white:
— ABC News Tasmania (@abcnewsTas) August 3, 2015
Suddenly, all the horrific July mornings seemed worth enduring:
— Australia (@Australia) August 3, 2015
You might think Tasmanians are used to this kind of stuff. You’re wrong:
— ABC Rural (@ABCRural) August 3, 2015
It was the first time in 10 years snow had reached sea level:
Even poor old Ben Lomond, Australia’s “unluckiest” ski destination perched an hour out of Launceston, had reason to celebrate:
— SNOWSEARCH australia (@SNOWSEARCH_aus) July 31, 2015
Unfortunately, that looks like it will be all for the foreseeable future. There’s only a dip into the minuses at both ends of the state once more later this week, before August turns comparatively balmy.
That means it will hover around the 2-12C mark for Launceston and 4-12C for Hobart.
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