Patrice Dougan

Patrice Dougan is a NZME. News Service reporter based in Auckland.

School girls rescued after getting trapped by rising river

Bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River at Waitawheta connecting to SH2 in the Karangahake Gorge. Photo / file
Bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River at Waitawheta connecting to SH2 in the Karangahake Gorge. Photo / file

A groups of schoolgirls who were trapped in the Waikato bush overnight have now been rescued.

The group of 12 girls and two instructors became stuck in Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park when their path was blocked by a river, swollen from yesterday's heavy rain.

They were forced off their original track and attempted to find an alternative route, but were unable to and called for help around 6.30pm last night. They were forced to spend the night in the dense bush, but had come well prepared for a multi-day tramp and had plenty of supplies, police said.

Search and rescue staff went into the forest this morning, taking two separate routes in a bid to find the safest way out for the group.

They were successfully found, and the group emerged from the bush around 1.15pm, police said.

"This was an example of a very well prepared group with all of the safety equipment you could ask for, making a very good call to ask for help," senior sergeant Rupert Friend of the Waikato District Command Centre said.

"The girls were never in any real danger, but it was right not to try and push on when confronted by rising water."

The girls, all aged around 14-years-old, had already been in the bush for one night and had all the food and camping gear they needed for another night.

- APNZ

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