19 Apr 2010

Missing trampers found

8:53 pm on 19 April 2010

Two women trampers who sparked a search and rescue operation in southern Wairarapa have been found safe and well.

Masterton police say the Wellington-based women, from Spain and Germany, believed to be in their 30s, went walking at the Pinnacles on Sunday, taking their lunch with them, but only lightly clad.

The alarm was raised about 9pm when they failed to return from the walk, which should have taken three hours.

About 10 search and rescue team members combed tracks and streams overnight on Sunday. A helicopter and extra ground teams joined the search on Monday.

The Department of Conservation had growing concerns for their safety because parts of the Pinnacles area have eroded and are potentially unsafe.

The pair said they spent a cold night huddled together in a disused hut. They thought the track would loop back, but they ended up deep inside Aorangi Forest Park.

One of the women, Nicole Benkert, said they found directions in the hutt to Cape Palliser Road where they were found safe and well near Washpool Stream about midday on Monday.