Israeli tourists lucky to be alive

February 6, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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Two Israeli tourists became trapped when a stream they had crossed on their way to Crucible Lake in New Zealand’s South Island had turned into a raging torrent following heavy rains…blocking their return.



The Siberian Stream



They had been heading for the Siberian Hut on the other side of the Siberian Stream on Thursday evening but could not make it across the fast flowing river. Two other members of the trekking group did make it across and alerted the hut warden managed to get a rope across the stream and used it to send a tent, food and supplies to the Israelis.

The stranded tourists had to spend the night in the tent waiting for the river’s level to drop and become a gentle stream again…shallow enough to walk across.

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation staff said that hikers were venturing into dangerous areas without skills and local knowledge.

Sergeant Aaron Nicholson of Wanaka Police told J-Wire: “We have available to tourists a network of facilities and guidebooks detailing what capabilities are required to make these treks. The Siberian stream can turn into a raging torrent very quickly following heavy rain…and it had been expected. Tourists need to be aware of the weather patterns and how they affect the river system. Recently an Asian tourist walked across a river which was very shallow. On her return it had risen ten times its depth and she drowned trying to cross it.”

Police in New Zealand have been critical before about the lack of regard Israeli tourists have for the wild. Sergeant Nicholson added: “I am sure if I went trekking in the Middle East, I would have to seek advice from the local authorities about the risks involved…and how to avoid them.”

Shemi Tzur, the Israeli ambassador to new Zealand told J-WIre: “The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem is continually warning tourists about taking care in New Zealand…but occasionally we have tourists who have little regard for local conditions. Once again, I ask them to respect the local conditions and make themselves aware of the precautions they need to take to ensure their safety.”

The Israelis suffered no injuries.


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