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Ski patrol rescues sheep buried in snow

Thursday 20 Jun 2013 2:03 p.m.

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Three mountain climbers needed an alpine rescue last night after bearing the brunt of a snow storm – but the stranded patients weren't your regular mountaineers.

A ski patrol was part-way through a regular avalanche monitoring routine on Wanaka's Treble Cone ski field when they spotted a little head sticking out of a snow drift.

A closer inspection revealed three sheep stranded in a snow drift, still breathing and warm, but buried in the snow.

Ski patrol member Luke Lennox says the surprising discovery left the team with the perfect opportunity to practice an alpine rescue.

"We decided to rescue them," he told 3 News. "We dug them out, the top one wasn't in very good shape, the two under were warmer."

"We checked their vital signs but no-one wanted to give mouth-to-mouth!"

Pulling out the stretchers used in a typical mountain rescue, the team tied the three merino crosses down and dragged them off the mountain.

The rescue turned out to be no easy task, Mr Lennox says, as bad weather conditions and three very heavy sheep turned the operation into a real labour of love.

High country farmer Charlie Ewing, who owns the sheep, says he is relieved to have them back safe and sound as they would not have survived for much longer.

The three are back in the field with their comrades this morning, no worse for wear from the experience.

3 News

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