A Riverina prisoner who escaped jail as snow fell across the lower mountains on Friday is back behind bars after he called 000 because he thought he was suffering hypothermia.
Police began scouring the Tumbarumba region after it was discovered the inmate was missing from the Mannus Correctional Centre late on Friday afternoon.
He allegedly escaped some time between 3.15pm and 5pm.
It had been snowing around Tumbarumba and Batlow for several hours by the time correctional staff realised they were a man down.
Almost five hours after the search began, police responded to a 000 call from a payphone in Jingellic, 35 kilometres south-west of the jail.
The man at the other end of the distress call reported he believed he was suffering from hypothermia, police said.
Temperatures plummeted to near freezing overnight, with the Bureau of Meteorology recording 0.5 degrees at Tumbarumba on Saturday morning.
Social media users report it dropped to as low as -3.2 degrees in some parts around Tumbarumba on Friday evening.
When officers arrived at Jingellic, they arrested a 30-year-old man without incident.
He has been charged with escaping lawful custody and was refused bail to appear at Albury Local Court on Saturday.