13 Jul 2009

Father and two children found safe and well

9:26 am on 13 July 2009

A Northland man and his two children who were missing for two nights in the Omahuta Forest have been found safe and well.

George Barbar, 40, his daughter Trinity, 13, and six-year-old son George Junior went into the Omahuta Forest, south of Kaitaia, for a pig hunting trip on Friday morning. Family members reported them missing on Saturday afternoon.

The trio spent two nights in the forest in atrocious weather conditions with just the bare essentials, before searchers found them early on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Barbar's brother-in-law, Mita Harris, says Omahuta Forest is deceptive and many hunters choose not to go into the area because it can be dangerous.

He says Mr Barbar is familiar with the forest, however this experience has taught him a lesson.

Mita Harris says his niece Trinity has a hearing impairment and his nephew George Junior is asthmatic.

He says their family is overjoyed they've been found alive.

Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe says the young boy was found just after 2.30pm and, a short time later, his father and sister were located, all safe and well, but extremely cold.

Mr Metcalfe says searchers are overjoyed to have found them. They were lucky to be alive given the bad weather and the fact they were lightly clothed, he says.

He says the group left on Friday, during sunny weather, for a day trip, and were simply caught out.

Bad weather causes death

The severe weather conditions have claimed one life, with a tree falling on a caravan near Whangarei killing 15-year-old Danielle Anne Finlayson.

She died when the tree fell on the caravan where she was sleeping shortly before 1am on Sunday, at Whakapara north of Whangarei.

A second person asleep in the caravan was uninjured.