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Police locate three missing trampers in the Tararua Ranges

Police locate three missing trampers in the Tararua Ranges

Police have located three Lower Hutt women overdue from a tramp in the Waitewaewae Basin, Tararua Ranges.

A 55 year-old woman, and her two daughters aged 18 and 21 were located safe and well this morning at 10am by the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter at the Island Forks bivouac. They were airlifted back to Levin where the 18 year-old received medical treatment for a minor injury to her knee.

The three women were due back from an overnight tramp to the Waitewaewae Basin on the evening of Sunday 13, January 2013. The 18 year-old woman suffered an injury to her knee heading in on the Saturday so the group took shelter at the Island Forks bivouac. The woman's knee injury and the high level of the river stopped the group from completing their tramp.

Search Coordinator Constable Kevin Dalzell said: "While the group had good clothing, shelter, a cellphone, and food, they did not have a personal locator beacon or a mountain radio which are crucial to take when you're out in the bush. There was no cellphone reception where the group was located and they would have had to climb some distance to get reception."

The woman is an experienced tramper while her two daughters have limited tramping experience.

"Police were notified by the woman's husband late Sunday evening when they didn't arrive home. One search and rescue team was deployed into the area yesterday afternoon (14 January) and another three volunteer teams assisted by the Levin Four Wheel drive club started searching at first light today.

"It was a good call by the women to stay on the track under shelter until they were located."

The search covered a large area from the Waitohu Valley Road, through to Mount Thompson and the West Waitewaewae River, down to the Waitewaewae Hut and back up to High Point Mick.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in the search for their efforts in locating the women.

"Remember when you go tramping you need to be properly prepared.

"Taking a locator beacon or a mountain radio means that we can find you faster and bring you back home to your family. Don't rely solely on a cellphone," said Constable Dalzell.


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