A Czech tourist has been found in a remote high-country hut in New Zealand where she waited a month to be rescued after her hiking partner fell and died, police said Thursday.
A search party found the woman on Wednesday after concerns were raised that she and her partner had not been seen since they set out to walk the 32-kilometre (20 mile) Routeburn Track in the southwest of the country.
Police flew a helicopter along the route and found the woman in a Department of Conservation warden’s hut, said inspector Olaf Jensen who confirmed the couple were both tourists from the Czech Republic.
The woman, whose identity has not been released, said they had entered the track on July 24 and her partner fell down a steep slope four days later.
She managed to reach him, however, it’s believed he died not long after.
There had been heavy snow in the area and the woman spent three nights in the open before finding the hut which had food, gas and firewood, and where she had sheltered since early August.
“They were extreme conditions they got stuck in,” Jensen said, adding the snow was “significantly deep” and had covered the track markers.
“They had become disoriented and were off the track.”
At the hut, “she made signs out of the snow about seeking help. She was relieved, yesterday, to be rescued.”
Jensen said it was “very unusual” for someone to be missing in the New Zealand bush for such a long period without it being reported.
The woman, said to be in her early 30s, has been treated for minor injuries, frostbite and possible hypothermia, Jensen said.
The Routeburn is a world-renowned track crossing New Zealand’s Southern Alps and attracts thousands of tourists each year.