Eight people have been rescued after becoming trapped in heavy snow near Mount Hotham with “terrible” conditions forecast to get worse. Four adults and four children, aged between six and 12, spent a chilly night in their vehicles on the Blue Rag Range Track west of the Dargo High Plains Road, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Police managed to extract them safe and well after initial concerns that as temperatures got down to minus five and wind gusting up to 110km/h forecast, they could be trapped there. Crews used a snowplow to clear a way to the group.
The vehicles were stuck in thick snow, which locals say is up to half a meter deep in some places after heavy falls on Sunday.
“It started on Sunday evening, it started coming down quite heavily,” a local told The Age. “We had 30 centimeters over Sunday night, and since then we have had maybe 10 centimeters on top of that. The weather has been terrible, howling winds.”
Police say one group of travelers in two 4WDs got stuck in the snow after failing to bring appropriate snow gear with them. A second group them came across them, tried to get them out, and also became stuck – leading to all needing to be rescued. Blue Rag Range is an extremely remote track through Victoria’s High Country but is popular because of its panoramic mountain views. There is only one way in or out, and the sides of the track drop off steeply on both sides.