'Lucky to be alive': Climber found just in time on deadly mountain

A search has been launched for Australian climber missing near Mt Aspiring

A search has been launched for Australian climber missing near Mt Aspiring

The Australian Army officer who was found alive on a New Zealand mountain will be rescued today after his miraculous survival.

A 29-year-old Australian soldier Terry Harch survived three nights alone in sub-zero conditions after he was trapped on Mt Aspiring.

The signal from the private tracking device was picked up by a supplier in Texas.

The wind was too strong to allow the helicopter to winch the climber off the mountain, but the rescue team with a paramedic managed to get onto the snow elsewhere and trek to the climber's location near Quarterdeck Pass.

Harch climbed the mountain last Friday and was expected back on Monday.

Earlier, it was reported that rescuers may have to use a sled and tow the climber further down to enable a helicopter to reach him.

"The rescue team left with the climber had provided warm clothing, tents, food and were well-equipped with emergency gear to keep the party dry and warm for what, is hoped to be, their last night on the mountain".

"He rang the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand, then they called us with the positions", RCCNZ senior search and rescue member Jeff Lunt said.

"The pilots did an unbelievable job to fly in and out, despite the low cloud tonight".

"We think he dug himself a snow shelter and that's helped in his survivability over these last few days".

The alarm was raised on Monday and rescue crews watched his beacon moving around the mountain for days as concerns grew. The helicopter flew around the area for about 10 minutes when it appeared Harch heard it and walked out of either a snow shelter or the bergschrund - the first crevasse at the top of the glacier.

The Australian Defence Force told News Corp the climber is an Australian Army soldier on leave in New Zealand. "The NZ Avalanche Advisory for the region was on high when he set out and the winds have been a factor as well".

The helicopters also transported out four rescuers who had reached Harch a day earlier and two more rescuers who had been on their way to him.

Yesterday a spokesperson for Maritime New Zealand said the man had some climbing experience.

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