News

Aussie tourist rescued after 30 hrs thought he would die

Robert Galdamez was located in the early hours of this morning by a search party.
Robert Galdamez was located in the early hours of this morning by a search party.

The Australian tourist rescued on Ben Lomond, near Queenstown, early this morning didn't think he was going to survive.

Police said a volunteer search and rescue team found 25-year-old Robert Galdamez wet and cold, just before 12.30am, near the summit of Ben Lomond.

He was taken to Lakes District Hospital with moderate hypothermia.

Doctors said he arrived hungry and hypothermic this morning- but is quickly recovering.

He is in a stable condition and will likely be discharged today.

He is yet to speak with police about his ordeal.

About 20 search and rescue staff, with dogs and a helicopter equipped with night vision, comb the mountain last night.

Galdamez had been missing for about 30 hours.

Queenstown as seen from the top of the Skyline gondola. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Queenstown as seen from the top of the Skyline gondola. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Earlier, his partner Tim Heritage said Galdamez was no stranger to tramping, but he was ''fearing the worst''.

Queenstown police launched a search and rescue operation on Tuesday night, after Galdamez failed to return from a day walk up Ben Lomond.

Senior Constable Terry Wood, of Queenstown, said Galdamez was last seen by his associate just after 3pm.

Galdamez and a friend had arrived in Queenstown on Monday and were scheduled to return to Australia on Saturday.

Heritage understood the pair had initially intended to walk Ben Lomond, above the Skyline complex.

''Apparently his friend only walked 30 minutes with him and didn't want to go any further, or couldn't or something, so she turned back and he went off.

''While he was walking up the mountain I was at work and I was kind of talking to him while working.''

Heritage said Galdamez had sent him some photos of ''up the top'' of Ben Lomond as well as videos of him walking up.

''It looked pretty windy,'' Heritage said.

''He did say he was getting scared and I kept asking him 'Are you all right?' and he didn't respond to my messages.''

After an hour without a response from Galdamez, Heritage contacted the tourist's friend, who said she had tried to video-chat with the missing man, but either something went wrong with the internet, or the battery on his iPad - from which he had been messaging - ran out.

Galdamez, who had been planning to trek to Everest Base Camp in December, had a history of epilepsy, Heritage said.

Galdamez was of El Salvadorean and Laotian descent, but born in Australia.

Wakatipu Tramping Club member Peter Dymock told the ODT it was ''hard to understand'' how anyone could wander off the Ben Lomond track.

The peak, almost 1750m above sea level, was a popular attraction for residents and tourists, accessible either via the One Mile Creek track, or from the top of the Skyline complex.

Dymock said the track from Skyline, where Galdamez had left, was well marked, had a good ground trail and was signposted.

Although it was ''quite steep in places'', he expected a person of average fitness would be able to complete the return trip to Skyline within four or five hours.

A side track led to Moke Lake and although it was ''not obvious'', it was signposted.

Wood said that Galdamez did not have food with him, had very little water and was wearing blue shoes, black sports leggings and a dark green puffer jacket.

Topics:  new zealand rescue tourist


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

New electorates to be announced Friday

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expects the next election will be fought using electorate boundaries to be proposed on Friday.

Commission to reveal new electorates on Friday

Baden-Clay: Gerard blocked from Allison's super, insurance

Allison Baden-Clay’s parents Geoff and Priscilla Dickie outside Brisbane Supreme Court today.

Allison’s father Geoff Dickie granted the power to manage her estate

Unions take to streets as Sunday penalty rates cut

Retail workers will be among those hit by the changes.

Thousands of lowest paid workers to be hit by changes to pay rates

Local Partners

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

Steve Price has threatened to quit the jungle.

Will camp ration clash with Keira cause Steve to call it quits?

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!