Searchers find missing Otago hunter
NICOLE MATHEWSON AND ASHLEIGH STEWART
An Oamaru man was found this morning with a broken leg and suffering from hypothermia after two nights in the bush when a solo hunting trip went awry.
A search and rescue operation was launched last night after the 52-year-old man failed to return from a hunting trip in the Mt Fortune area near Herbert, North Otago, on Tuesday night.
Sergeant Blair Wilkinson said family members notified police of the man's disappearance about 9.30pm yesterday.
The man, an experienced hunter, left for the day trip on Tuesday morning, and was expected to return that night.
When he failed to show up, family members searched for him themselves. However when they located his truck and dog, which had made its way back to the truck, they "realised something was amiss".
The extensive search deployed teams from Oamaru, Dunedin and Oamarama, and dog teams were sent from Dunedin.
Search efforts were suspended about 1.30am this morning and resumed at 5.30am.
"At 6.30am this morning a light was located by helicopter. That was investigated and the missing man was located," Wilkinson said.
The man was found with a broken femur and suffering from hypothermia.
It was believed he sustained his injury in a fall, as the area he was tramping in was "quite steep".
The man was then airlifted to Dunedin Hospital.
Wilkinson said rescue efforts were helped by the fact the man's family knew where he was headed, but stressed the importance of carrying a locator beacon.
"He was an experienced hunter, and well-equipped," he said.
"But this incident does highlight that if people are hunting alone, they should be using a locator beacon. This would have been resolved far quicker if he had one."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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