'No more adventures' for tourist lost in bush

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 05:00 24/08/2012

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A Swiss woman who was lost in the bush near Picton overnight says she hopes her rescuers "don't think I'm a stupid tourist".

The 27-year-old woman, who wanted to be known only as Josephine, had been on a day walk up Essens Valley when she became lost.

''I was just going to go for a small walk. I followed a small path and made a few wrong decisions and then I did not know where I was. It was getting dark and I couldn't find my way back to the path,'' she said.

She managed to send a text message to her friend in Christchurch saying she was lost before her phone battery died.

''I realised I wasn't going to make it and would have to spend the night here. I texted her but it died before I got a reply and I started to panic.''

Josephine only had light clothing on and covered herself in a nest of leaves to keep warm.

''I tried to find a dry patch and covered myself up. There were a few specks of rain and I was terrified it would pour down on me but it didn't. But it was so cold.''

She became scared when she heard wild pigs in the bush and shouted at them to keep away.

''I couldn't sleep because I was shivering non-stop and frightened.''

However, she also saw glow worms which she said were ''beautiful".

Two search teams worked until 3.30am looking for her before retiring for the night. Josephine said she could hear the men calling and shouted out to them but they could not hear her over the sound of a nearby river.

''Even though I was scared . . . it was such a good feeling knowing someone was out there looking for me. I am so glad [my friend] did the right thing and called them.''

The search resumed at 6.30am with two ground teams and a search and rescue dog. They came across Josephine about an hour later.

''I gave them a big hug. I was so relieved,'' she said.

Josephine was feeling ''much better'' after having a sleep and some food, but was worried her family in Switzerland would find out about the incident.

''I'm very embarrassed. I felt very sorry for the people who were out all night searching for me. I hope they don't think I'm a stupid tourist. I hadn't meant to go for a big walk so only had water and a small pack. I have a much better idea now what to take with me but I don't want anymore adventures. That was enough.''

She planned to stay in Picton until Saturday before returning to Christchurch.

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- The Press

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