Clothing and shoes belonging to two men who went missing in bush after fleeing police have been found in Tongariro National Park.
Five teams, including two search and rescue dogs, searched the forest area on the far eastern edge of Tongariro National Park yesterday.
Police had tried to stop the stolen car on the Desert Road about 3pm on Saturday, but the driver carried on. The car was eventually abandoned on Tree Trunk Gorge Road and the driver and passenger ran through nearby bush.
The search was started on Sunday, after one of the men called 111 on a phone, asking for help, before the phone's battery died.
"Yesterday late afternoon we found a camp fire that would have been lit by these young men, which is consistent with the information we've been given from family," Inspector Kevin Taylor told Morning Report.
"Unfortunately we also found two piles of clothing which would appear to have come from them.
"Later in the afternoon we found another shirt and and shoe which matched a shoe we found by these two piles of clothing.
"That doesn't give us a whole lot of comfort.
"That's consistent with them being hypothermic and disrobing."
In their 111 call on Sunday morning the men had said they were cold, numb and wet, he said.
Mr Taylor said when a person developed hypothermia they became euphoric or delirious and start to take off clothing.
The weather had been wet and cold all weekend and on Monday and police had "very grave concerns" for the men.
"It's not sub-zero temperatures, there's no frost or snow, but it is cold and it's a very unpleasant environment if you're not well-equipped or well-clothed."
Forty search and rescue volunteers from as far as Tauranga and Whanganui will scour the area where the clothing was found.