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Helicopters rescue stranded Australian climber from New Zealand peak

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Helicopter-borne rescuers on Friday lifted an Australian climber off a mountain in New Zealand where he had been trapped in freezing temperatures for three days as bad weather and the risk of avalanches hampered rescue efforts.

Concerns had grown for the safety of Terry Harch, 29, who had been on a solo climb of Mount Aspiring in the South Island, after he triggered a satellite personal tracker device on Tuesday.

“It’s a great result, as we did not want the climber spending another night on the mountain,” Neville Blakemore, an official of New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Centre, said in a statement.

Harch was discovered alive on the 3,033-metre (9,951-foot) mountain on Thursday, suffering from “slight frostbite” as temperatures plummeted well below zero, but poor weather delayed the rescue until Friday.

“It had been a very difficult day with the wind, cloud and snow conditions preventing the helicopters from reaching the climber on the mountain until this afternoon, when a weather window suddenly opened up,” the rescue centre added.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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