Hunters missing in Te Urewera National Park found

A father and son missing in the Te Urewera National Park have been found after leaving large arrows and an SOS sign made out of rocks in a riverbed.

Rotorua police were advised late on Sunday afternnon of two hunters overdue in the northern Te Urewera National Park.

The pair, a father and son from the South Waikato had been dropped by helicopter into the Matawhero Stream [about 15km east of Galatea] on Thursday, and were to be picked up at 2pm on Sunday.

When the helicopter arrived to pick them up they were not at their camp.   

During the afternoon the helicopter operator returned several times to the area, but by dark they were still missing.

Rotorua Police Search & Rescue arranged several search teams of Police and LandSAR volunteers to begin a search yesterday morning.

Efforts to get back into the area were hampered by fog, rain, and low cloud, but the weather improved by late morning and a helicopter was able to drop the first of the search teams at the lost parties camp, and conduct an aerial search.

Around midday the lost hunters were located in the Te Inepa Stream.  This was about 5km from their camp and in a different watershed.

They had got lost on the second day of their trip and so had been lost for  three days.  The had no food or shelter, but had made a fire to keep warm.  

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

In addition to lighting a fire, which assisted those searching for them, the pair had also left large arrows and an SOS sign made out of rocks in the riverbed.

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.

Police were very happy to locate the pair when they did given the severe weather warnings in place for later in the week. 

Given their weak state when found it is likely that if they had still been lost when the bad weather hit it could well have proved fatal for them, police said.

Police said this was a salutary lesson to those using the outdoors to always follow the outdoor safety code.

This is a salutary lesson to those using the outdoors to always follow the outdoor safety code.

Outdoor Safety:

•    Plan your trip.

•    Tell someone where you are going and when you will return so they know  

when to raise the alarm.

•    Be aware of the weather.

•    Know your limits.

•    Take sufficient supplies.  (This includes food, clothing to cover all  

eventualities, and a means of communication.)


- Rotorua Daily Post

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