1 Jan 2009

Searchers find West Coast trio

4:33 pm on 1 January 2009

Searchers on Wednesday found three men missing near Punakaiki on the West Coast.

Paudie McCarthy and Mike Casey - both from Ireland - and New Zealander Vincent Ellis had been due back from a walk about 10.30pm on Tuesday.

Search and rescue spokesperson Constable Sean Judd said searchers took advantage of a break in the weather about 6pm on Wednesday to drop a search team high on a bluff system running north of Punakaiki.

Mr Judd said the searchers saw the three men stuck on an extremely steep bluff.

He said they had set out ill-equipped for a walk and with a bottle of whiskey and found the terrain too steep for them.

A helicopter and a ground team of 20 had carried out the search.

Paudie McCarthy says they did not have any gear to help them survive, climbed higher than they had planned to and then couldn't get down.