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Four Maniototo pig-hunters, missing in snow-covered high country near Paerau since last night, were rescued this afternoon shortly after an aerial search began.
The four - two adults and two teenage children - were spotted near Old Dunstan Road, between Paerau and Clarks Junction at 3.30pm, during a helicopter search.
They were all uninjured and were taken to a nearby farm house.
The search and rescue operation was launched by Alexandra police earlier this afternoon.
There was little information of the group's whereabouts in the back-country and no cellphone coverage either, Inspector Warren Kemp, of the Christchurch police communications centre, said.
The group decided to go pig-hunting last night and their truck had got stuck in the snow-covered hills, Insp Kemp said.
They had walked out to an area where there was cellphone coverage and had notified a contact about their predicament, he said.
However, the group had decided to return to their stranded vehicle and could not be contacted.
"No-one really knows where they went. There is a fair bit of snow up in that area, I understand,'' Insp Kemp said.
There were some concerns for the group, given the prevailing weather conditions and the exposed nature of the high-country area near Patearoa and Styx where the group went hunting.
Family and friends of the group had searched tracks in the area today in 4WD drive vehicles.