Missing woman found on ferry

Last updated 15:40 06/03/2014

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Missing 52-year-old woman Tracy Walsh has been found after overnighting on an Interislander ferry in Picton.

Concern was raised over Ms Walsh' whereabouts after she left the Rest Home Care facility at Laura Fergusson Trust in Naenae on Monday, destination unknown.

Ms Walsh had been on the Kaitaki from Picton to Wellington on Tuesday night but bad weather forced the ferry back to Picton.

Crew member Steph Thompson noticed Ms Walsh when she boarded in Picton earlier on Tuesday and asked her who she was meeting in Wellington.

When the ship was turned around, Ms Thompson and customer services manager Alistair Craib invited her to stay on board with crew over night.

Staff had noticed she had looked a bit lost, and offered to give her a bed on board.

Mr Craib said crew checked in with bookings to see if there were any contact details for her ticket, but there were none. She had no ID on her.

He said Ms Walsh's speech was severely impaired and she could not walk far so, with the crew unaware she was missing, and with no way to communicate she was given a passenger cabin, fed and monitored overnight by Ms Thompson.

''It was an unusual situation  but we had to try and do the right thing - we could not have abandoned her and turned her loose in Picton,'' Mr Craib said.

On returning to Wellington, Mr Craib dropped Ms Walsh back to her mother's home as that was the address she gave.

Inspector Chris Tate said: "Interislander were the samaritans on the day.''

Ms Walsh is prone to seizures, has a speech impediment and walks with a cane.

Police had been particularly concerned for her because of the storm and the fact she had not taken her medication for several days.

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- The Dominion Post

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