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.

Get to know local pastor Curtis Rothemund

PASTOR: Curtis Rothemund of the Gatton Bible Baptist Church.

Curtis Rothemund on the passion that drives him.

Upgrades on track for Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

UPGRADES IN SIGHT: A full mobile assessment of the condition of the rail trail surface will be conducted by Somerset Regional Council.

The rail trail's completion is on the horizon.

Duncan's long love affair with Toranas rekindled

PRIDE AND JOY: Duncan Lewis beside his 1974 Holden LJ Torana.

Duncan Lewis tells all about his 1974 Holden LJ Torana.

Local Partners

Fresh faces: NCIS gets a shake up with new cast members

The new cast of NCIS, from left, Rocky Carroll, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito.

THREE new characters join naval drama for season 14.

First the Onesie, now an Xbox One S inflatable controller

Fancy an inflatable Xbox One S controller?

Inflatable controller 'perfect sidekick' for Australia Day party

Sarah Harris: Here’s what Amber Sherlock should’ve done

Studio 10 and Shark Tank presenter Sarah Harris.

STUDIO 10 host says Sherlock could’ve avoided the subsequent uproar.

Amber Heard 'smitten' with Elon Musk

Amber Heard

ACTRESS is reportedly excited about going public with new boyfriend

New doco argues ‘OJ Simpson is innocent, and I can prove it’

O.J. Simpson

NEW documentary series claims to have found “missing evidence".

REVIEW: Undressed is more than titilating entertainment

Nathan and Tahlia meet for the first time on the TV series Undressed.

'DIVERSE' dating show goes more than skin deep.

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

What a year 2016 proved to be

Entrance Island, Birtinya

Get the inside info from the agents themselves

REVEALED: What Coast wants in an international airport

Sunshine Coast business people share their views on what's needed

Time for a cool change

43 Eckersley Ave, Buderim.

Family home goes to the auction floor

Designer home set in lush tropical gardens

This home has it all and more

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!