Lost hunter had plan to drink urine to avoid dehydration

MIKE WATSON
TAUPO REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 26/10/2012
Siow Hong Kuik
Supplied
FOUND: Siow Hong Kuik, a hunter lost in Te Urewera National Park for three days considered drinking his own urine to prevent dehydration.

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A hunter lost in Te Urewera National Park for three days considered drinking his own urine to prevent dehydration.

Searchers found Siow Hong Kuik, 42, on Wednesday afternoon cold and exhausted. On Sunday, he had gone for what was meant to be a short hunt, and wandered off the main trail in rugged bush east of Whakatane.

Searchers were helped by a note he left in a hut where he slept on the second night, and signs showing the direction he was headed.

The Malaysian-born Auckland cake-shop owner said he had been hunting in the area for 10 years, but was not equipped to spend an unplanned night outdoors.

He had gone hunting in the park with two friends at Labour Weekend when he went off by himself, intending to return to the hut after a few hours, but lost his way.

"I didn't bother to bring a GPS or torch because it was a short hunt," he said. "I think next time I will prepare more fully."

Searchers estimated Mr Kuik walked 36 kilometres before being found about 12km from where he had left his companions.

He fired off a single shot each night to signal to searchers and other hunters that he was lost, but heard no response.

He spent the first night in the open and the second night at Kouanui Hut. He was able to eat food and drink water at the hut.

On the third night he burrowed into a hole used by wild pigs, to shelter from a hailstorm. "It was very cold so I peed into a plastic bag to keep warm."

He said he considered drinking the urine to prevent dehydration if he were unable to find a water source.

"There was little water on the ridge and, if I could not find anything to drink, I would have drunk the urine."

He forced himself to remain positive that he would be found alive. "I just kept calm and prayed. I knew I would make it out somehow."

Realising he needed to conserve energy, he eventually stopped walking and was found by searchers who had discovered the note in the hut.

About 60 LandSar searchers, police and iwi from Whakarae Marae in the Matahi Valley helped in the search.

Contact Mike Watson
Taupo reporter
Email: mike.watson@dompost.co.nz

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- The Dominion Post

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