Five young Americans have been rescued off Mt Ngauruhoe tonight after getting trapped in icy conditions, steep terrain and bluffs.
Taupo's rescue helicopter was dispatched to assist the group, aged 20-21-years-old, and they were found huddled together in the fading light of the day.
By the time the men were loaded into the helicopter it was pitch black, and the crew had to use night vision goggles to complete the mission.
The men were all uninjured, apart from one who had fallen earlier grazing his knees and soaking his clothing with snow and ice.
The five set out from Mangatepopo Road early this morning and hiked over Mt Tongariro to the Emerald Lakes, then doubled back to Mt Ngauruhoe.
They climbed the northern side of the mountain, and then began their descent on the south-eastern side with the intention of camping overnight near Upper Tama Lake.
They called police just before 5pm when they got stuck on an icy face high on the southeast side of the mountain at 7000' just below the summit.
All five are students from five different USA states studying at Auckland University.