Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Missing French tourist found

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A woman was airlifted out of the forest near Taupo. PHOTO/GREENLEA RESCUE HELICOPTER
A woman was airlifted out of the forest near Taupo. PHOTO/GREENLEA RESCUE HELICOPTER

A missing French tourist who got lost in bush near Taupo was well prepared - but could have saved "a lot of hassle" if she had been carrying a personal locator beacon.

The 26-year-old spent a night lost in bush in the Pureora Forest Track after she went off track to get around some "windfall" and became lost.

She phoned police about 3pm yesterday to say she was lost - and was eventually found late this morning , according to Senior Constable Barry Shepherd from the Taupo police.

The woman got lost hiking towards the Waihaha Hut.

Mr Shepherd said the woman was found "in good health and good spirits a bit thirsty and hungry".

He said three LandSAR teams from Taupo, Turangi and Hamilton - including a search and rescue dog - started looking for the woman yesterday following her emergency call.

They spent much of the night searching for her, and the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter was also involved in a search using night-vision goggles.

After another call mid-morning today police were able to get a better position and a team was able to get to her within an hour. She was eventually found about 1.8km off the track.

She was lifted out by the Taupo-based rescue helicopter.

Mr Shepherd said the hiker was very well prepared.

"She had more gear than you could poke a stick at. It was really unfortunate she went around some windfall and couldn't find the track again."

He said if the woman had carried a personal locator beacon it would have been a quick process to find her location.

"[Phone coverage] was really marginal and she was distressed and anxious. The phone call kept dropping out."

Mr Shepherd said the woman - who is in New Zealand for 90 days - had planned to get a beacon for her hiking in the South Island but hadn't for the North Island because there were "more people".

- Rotorua Daily Post

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