Hunters found after going missing for three days

The SOS created by the lost hunters. Photo / supplied
The SOS created by the lost hunters. Photo / supplied

Two hunters missing in Te Urewera National Park for three days have been found alive.

The father and son, from south Waikato, were dropped by helicopter near Galatea on Thursday and were to be picked up on Sunday but were nowhere to be seen when the chopper returned.

Rotorua police and LandSAR volunteers commenced a ground search yesterday morning, and a helicopter searched from above.

The pair were found near the Te Inepa Stream this afternoon, about 5km from their original camp.

They told rescuers they had been lost for three days.

They had no food or shelter, but had made a fire to keep warm and had also left large arrows and an SOS sign made out of rocks in the riverbed.

"Both were hungry and weak, and very happy to see their rescuers,'' police said.

"They had a very well equipped campsite, and lots of good gear and food, but unfortunately had very little with them when they got lost.''

A severe weather warning was in place for later in the week which, given their weak state, could well have killed them.

"This is a salutary lesson to those using the outdoors to always follow the outdoor safety code,'' police said.

- APNZ

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