A 79-year-old dementia sufferer had a lucky escape thanks to a pendant she was wearing that emitted a signal and helped rescuers find her quickly.
Tauranga police were notified shortly after 5pm on Wednesday that a elderly woman had wandered away from her home.
Fortunately, she was wearing a Wander Search pendant which had been supplied by Tauranga Land Search and Rescue after the woman had gone missing previously.
Due to the pendant's signal, the search team was able to track her down to a block of bush at the east end of Yatton Park.
The woman was unable to reply to the searchers' voice appeals and it was some time before she was found in the dense bush.
It was apparent the woman had gone as far as she could in the bush before lying down, which was characteristic of a person suffering from dementia, Senior Sergeant Craig Madden said.
"Without the Wander Search pendant, we would not have found the missing woman tonight.
"I'm confident that without the pendant she would've spent a very uncomfortable night in the bush and I wouldn't like to say what the outcome of that could've been," Madden said.
If you have a family member who suffers from a dementia-related illness and you have concerns about their possible tendency to wander, or would like to find out more about the Wander Search pendant you can email them at email@example.com.