11 Aug 2014

Italian student tramper safe and well

3:06 pm on 11 August 2014

An Italian exchange student missing in rugged bush near Wellington has found his way out safely.

A search was launched on Sunday night after Eric Rigamonti and two other exchange students, all 17, got lost on a tramp between Eastbourne and Wainuiomata.

An Italian exchange student is missing in rugged hills between Wainuiomata and Eastbourne.

An Italian exchange student is missing in rugged hills between Wainuiomata and Eastbourne. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The other two - from Spain and Japan - were found about 5am on Monday, and flown out of the bush by helicopter.

Eric Rigamonti had separated from them while trying to find cellphone reception. He sent a text message to his host family at 9pm and later spoke to police.

The teenager walked out of the bush on Monday afternoon to the Coast Road near Wainuiomata and went to a nearby property where he contacted his host family.

Police said 25 search and rescue personnel were involved in the search.

All three students are at Wainuiomata College.