Missing trampers found safe

Three Lower Hutt women missing in the Tararua Ranges have been found after spending two extra nights in the bush.

The Palmerston North Rescue helicopter located the 55 year-old woman and her two daughters aged 18 and 21 at 10am at the Island Forks bivouac.

They were airlifted back to Levin where the 18 year-old received medical treatment for a minor knee injury.

The women were due back from an overnight tramp to the Waitewaewae Basin on Sunday, but took shelter at the bivouac after the daughter hurt her knee.

The injury and the high level of the river stopped the group from completing the tramp.

Search Coordinator Constable Kevin Dalzell said police were notified by the woman's husband late Sunday evening when they did not arrive home.

One search and rescue team was deployed to the area yesterday afternoon and another three volunteer teams assisted by the Levin Four Wheel Drive club started searching at first light today.

"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 older woman is an experienced tramper while her two daughters have limited tramping experience, he said.

"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.

The Dominion Post