Search and rescue drill accidentally rescues lost trampers

Search and rescue drill accidentally rescues lost trampers
Photo credit: Google Maps

A Tauranga search and rescue drill unexpectedly rescued a group of lost trampers.

The exercise was run on Saturday, in the Kaimai Ranges around Sentinel Rock.

While the search team searched a gully, they ran into four Auckland trampers who had lost reception on the cellphones they were using to navigate.

The team took three women (two aged 29, one 34) and a 50-year-old man to Motutapere Hut to spend the night, and escorted them out of the bush the next day.

Sergeant Craig Madden says it was a close call for the trampers, who had intended to stay in the bush overnight and wouldn't have been reported missing until Sunday.

"In the location they were found they would have been in serious trouble, given the weather conditions," he says.

"Although they had good gear, they had little experience for the circumstances they found themselves in."

He says many people have become lost after relying on their cellphone for navigation.

"Cellphone coverage in the Kaimais is poor - and even if you have a GPS, it's essential that you have a map of the area you're in."