NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES – MOUNT RUAPEHU - 1990

On Monday 13 August 1990, thirteen men - two instructors and ten infantrymen of the New Zealand Army and one naval rating from the Royal New Zealand Navy on an army alpine training course on Mt Ruapehu were caught by a blizzard.

The group left on Thursday 09 August on a four-day trek from Whakapapa on Mount Ruapehu's northern slope to Turoa on the south western side. On Saturday 11 August, the men awoke to a north-westerly blizzard with winds up to 150km/hour, freezing temperatures and swirling snow. Frostbite and hypothermia soon set in.

Two of the men, Sergeant Geoff Snowdon and Private Brendon Burchell left the group to seek help and trekked for 11 hours overnight to raise the alarm. They were unable to see for most of the journey.

Six men died on the 13 August 1990 and are remembered on the Tamaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum online cenotaph. They were:

BARKER Brett William Private 18
BOULT Jeffrey Royden Able Rating (Royal New Zealand Navy) 22
MADIGAN Mark James Private 20
McALPINE Stuart Keith Private 23
MENHENNET Jason Ross Private 19
STEWART David Edward Whawhai Private 23

The seven survivors were:

BERGER Rayner Private
BURCHELL Brendon Private
CULLOTY Barry Lance Corporal
JAGGARD Brent Corporal
MUMBY Grant Private
SNOWDON Geoff Sergeant
TE RURE Sonny Private

Also see the New Zealand Herald of Sunday 13 August 2017.



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