A Dutch tourist, along with two kiwi hiking partners, were rescued from Mount Ngauruhoe in New Zealand over the Easter weekend after they set out on a hike to the summit too late in the day and without the proper gear. The mountain, which stands 7516 feet in height, served as the basis for the fiery Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings films, and the three trekkers are described as avid fans of the blockbuster trilogy.
It seems that Violet Onderwater of the Netherlands met Ryan Hattle and Sam MacDonald on the popular travel site CouchSurfing.com and soon made plans to travel to New Zealand to meet her new friends in person. The trio made plans to make the Lord of the Rings inspired hike to the summit of Mt. Doom, the location of the climactic final scene of the films.
On Saturday, April 3rd, Onderwater and her companions made the road trip to Mount Ngauruhoe, arriving around 1 PM, and setting out for the top in bright sunshine. They reportedly reached the top of the active volcano around 5:30 PM, but on the descent, Onderwater turned her ankle, injuring it in the process. With their progress down the mountain slowed, and foul weather moving in, one of the kiwis used his cell phone to call for help, which resulted in no less than six search and rescue teams being sent out to find the hikers, who were now caught out in the cold rain and wind, with very light clothing on.
Fortunately, the SAR teams found the trekkers fairly quickly, and aside from a sprained ankle, no one was in any great danger. It seems that tax payers may have suffered the most damage, as early estimates put the cost of the rescue operation at a whopping $10,000.
Perhaps they should send the bill to Peter Jackson.