The woman who found herself trapped in a remote New Zealand hut for a month after watching her partner fall to his death has spoken out for the first time.
Paulina Pizova, 33, described her experience on the Routeburn track in the South Island of New Zealand’as “harrowing”.
The Czech tourist told reporters that she and her partner Andrej Petr, 27, got lost two days into the planned hike. They spent one night in the open and the next day Petr fell down a steep slope and died shortly afterwards.
“After his death it took me another two nights out in the open before I reached the safety of the [Lake Mckenzie] hut,” she said, according to The New Zealand Herald.
Ms Pizova, who suffered frostbite and hypothermia, broke into the warden’s hut, which was closed during the off-season. However, the hut contained bunkbeds, a fire and a limited supply of food.
“At the hut, considering my physical health, the deep snow conditions, knowing there were avalanche paths ahead of me, I knew it was best to stay in the safe place.
“I made a few attempts to walk out from the hut, but my feet, the weather conditions and the deep snow discouraged me from doing so.”
She admitted that the pair should have taken more safety precautions before embarking on the track, which is known for its treacherous and changeable weather (even in summer).
“I am aware we made a few mistakes - not leaving our intentions with somebody, not carrying a PLB [personal locator beacon] and underestimating the winter conditions on the track.”
Ms Pizova was rescued after relatives in Czechoslovakia contacted New Zealand Police after the pair hadn’t been in touch with with their families for a month. A helicopter flew to rescue Ms Pizova and Mr Petr’s body was later recovered by Search and Rescue.