A badly injured Kiwi woman missing for three days has been found with a shattered pelvis in a US desert by a helicopter search crew.

Claire Nelson, 36, has been flown to a local hospital for treatment after rescuers found her on Friday about 4pm (local time) in a national park.

Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith said a River County Sheriff's helicopter crew discovered Nelson in a "wash" - a dried out river bed - in the park.

A post shared by Claire Nelson (@ladyeclaire) on

The crew were able to make contact with Nelson and rescued her from the wash before flying her to safety.


#Missing person in Joshua Tree National Park Information release date: May 25, 2018 Contact: Joshua Tree National...

Posted by Joshua Tree National Park on Friday, 25 May 2018

The search began about six hours earlier when Nelson's vehicle was found in the parking area for the Lost Palms Oasis and Mastodon Peak trailhead.

Searchers from the park and Riverside County Sheriff's Department began the search and a rescue helicopter crew was also called in.

Nelson - whose Facebook pages lists her as a freelance writer, editor and "perpetual traveller" - is believed to have become lost in the park. She was last heard from on Tuesday local time.

Natalie rocks. 🏜

A post shared by Claire Nelson (@ladyeclaire) on

She had told a friend earlier in the week she was planning to hike to Lost Palms Oasis and would be back on Wednesday, but had not made contact with anyone since then.

KESQ news reported she was found with a shattered pelvis.

Smith said he knew Nelson had some injuries but was unsure of the extent or how she came to be injured.

More to come.