25 Sep 2013

Missing backpacker safe but cold and tired

6:57 pm on 25 September 2013

Police say a backpacker who spent three nights lost in Tongariro National Park was cold and exhausted when he was found on Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old Chinese national was located just after 1pm on the outskirts of the park and was taken to Taumarunui Hospital for assessment.

Sergeant Colin Wright says the search team was relieved to find him alive, after bad weather threatened to delay the search.

He says the incident highlights the importance of being prepared before going into the bush and carrying a personal locating device.

The man left National Park for a walk on local tracks on Sunday and the owners of the accommodation he was staying at reported him missing at 12pm on Tuesday.

Searchers spent Tuesday night combing the area where he was last seen and more search teams were sent out early on Wednesday morning, taking the search team to 30 plus a helicopter.

A helicopter was also searching the area.

Police say searchers found the man just after 1pm on Wednesday on the outskirts of the National Park township.

Police said earlier they were concerned for the man, who was lightly clad and unprepared to spend nights out in bad weather.