Three people and a dog survived a plane crash in poor conditions near the summit of the Desert Road last Monday night.

Constable Jeremy Poynter of Turangi Police said the private plane crashed at about 5.15pm in bush about 6km south of the NZ Army training zone, and police were alerted at about 5.40pm.

It is understood the trio were aged in their 20's, with the pilot in their late 20's. They had apparently been hunting in the Kaimanawas based at Boyd Hut, which has an airstrip, and were heading back to Tūrangi when the crash occurred. They set off a beacon which an overhead aircraft picked up and used to pinpoint their location.

Constable Jeremy Poynter of Turangi Police praised the efforts of Land Search and Rescue volunteers who turned out in pouring rain to locate the crashed plane and its occupants. Photo / File
Constable Jeremy Poynter of Turangi Police praised the efforts of Land Search and Rescue volunteers who turned out in pouring rain to locate the crashed plane and its occupants. Photo / File

A rescue helicopter could not be sent in because of the conditions so a five-strong Land Search and Rescue party set off on foot in pouring rain from near the summit of the Desert Rd at about 9.20pm to find the trio.

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They were discovered safe and well, although a little wet and cold, at about midnight.

They were walked out to the Desert Rd at about 3am, where their parents were waiting to pick them up.

Poynter praised the Land Search and Rescue members who had ventured out in the wet conditions and found the stranded trio so quickly. He said the trio in the plane must have made a reasonably good crash-landing to have survived uninjured.