Families relieved young trampers found after five-hour search

The families of two young trampers reported lost in the East Matukituki valley spent an emotional night waiting for any news about the pair.

Two Dunedin trampers were reported missing after they failed to make contact with their parents by 7pm on Tuesday.

The man and woman, both aged 18, were tramping overnight in the Junction Flat area of the valley and were due to walk out at 5pm on Tuesday.

Heavy rain had caused many of the rivers and creeks in the area to flood.

Instead of trying to cross various rivers and creeks, the pair decided to stay overnight and wait until levels receded.

Wanaka LandSAR was alerted to the overdue campers on Tuesday night and started a search early yesterday morning.

After about five hours of searching the trampers were found.

A spokesman for their families said it had been an emotional time for everyone involved but it was a massive relief to have them found safe and well.

Even though the pair had planned to camp for only one night they were well prepared in the event they were unable to walk out.

Both were doing well and their families were immensely proud of the decision they made in such challenging circumstances.

The families were overwhelmed by the support from the police and Wanaka LandSAR and their response to the situation.

About 10 LandSAR volunteers and a helicopter from Aspiring Helicopters were involved in the search.

Wanaka police Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson praised the decision the pair made not to try to cross the flooded streams.

''In the past, we have had fatalities with people trying to cross swollen rivers and the like, and in this case the young trampers have done the right thing.''

Despite not having a personal locator beacon the pair and their families had put the right procedures in place to react if something did go wrong.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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