Motorcyclists Ignore Road Closed Signs


Central Otago Police are shaking their heads in disbelief after having to rescue a large number of motorcyclists who became trapped in snow after completely ignoring road closed signs on the Dansys Pass road.

The riders were all extremely cold and tired and very grateful to see the searchers. They had been trying to walk through snow for some 7 hours at that stage in freezing conditions and were nearing the end of their endurance.

The Dansys Pass road had been closed last week because of the road conditions and Police have established that there are locked gates on each side of the pass which these riders had come across but managed to bypass, along with at least three road closed signs that they had passed and ignored.

Police were advised about 6.40pm last night that a large number of motorcyclists were trapped in deep snow on the road between the Hotel and the summit.

The group whose ages ranged from early 20′s to mid 70′s had intended travelling over the pass to a motor cycle event in Central Otago. They became trapped just below the summit at lunchtime and had spent several hours on foot trying to walk the 14kms through snow to the Hotel.

A search and rescue operation was launched with Police, Ambulance, SAR volunteers, the local 4 wheel drive club, a commercial grader and a local farmer with a large tractor all helping in the search and recovery. A helicopter was requested but then stood down in the conditions with searchers having to go in by road.

Police and SAR staff in 4×4′s managed to travel up the road approx 2 kms from the Dansys Pass Hotel and found a group of 20 riders.

With deep snow further up a large tractor and the grader were then used to take searchers up the road where 3kms further up a group of 3 riders were located walking and then another 3 riders were found sheltering near the roadway 6kms up.

Searchers continued up to ensure all persons were located and accounted for and found the snow near the summit shoulder deep in places.

All were taken back to the Dansys Pass Hotel to warm up and after a warm drink and something to eat none needed any further medical attention.

A police spokesman said: “Their decision to travel that road past warning signs and locked gates is foolish to say the least and could well have resulted in the loss of life. They not only put themselves at risk but caused others to have to risk the conditions to rescue them.”

Police are extremely grateful to the Hotel Owners who allowed their Hotel to become a search base and the other local’s and organisations that provided machinery and local knowledge to help the successful rescue.

Police are reviewing the incident but charges are unlikely against any of the riders.

“At the end of the day they made a bad decision and they will have to answer to their families and peers for that. I hope this will be a learning curve for those involved. I’m sure a donation to the local Maniototo Search and Rescue organisation would be appreciated by the local community, but that is a matter for them. We got everyone out safely and for all the people involved in the rescue that is reward enough.”




  1. Anthony says:

    Jesus! the road is closed for a reason! these knobs need to learn to obey these signs.

  2. Ian says:

    I take it they were off to the cold kiwi. Their obvious mistake was in not tackling the snow on hard revving Kwaka triple 2 strokes. Good on yer mate.

  3. max says:

    Not sure if I approve of no charges being laid. Morons.


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