Men stuck in Upper Hutt bush made shelter out of ferns

Sat, Mar 18
The shelter the men constructed in the bush.

Police have rescued two men who got into difficulty in Upper Hutt's Akatarawa Forest yesterday.

The pair were found about 3am this morning.

The men, aged 32 and 37, had planned to ride motorcycles from Karapoti Rd to Orange Hut to meet a friend — who raised the alarm when they failed to arrive before dark. River levels rose in the area yesterday as heavy rain fell.

Two police search and rescue members and a local 4x4 club member searched for the men, who were found near the bottom of the Devil's Staircase, a "steep, technical section of track in a remote valley".

"A lot of people have been caught out in that area over the years; it is incredibly steep, slippery, and rutted," Search and Rescue Duty Officer Detective Constable Ilisa Higgins said.

"One of the men had injured his knee while trying to haul one of the motorcycles up a steep drop.

"Due to the injury, he wouldn't have been able to move the bikes up any further and would've had great difficulty walking out."

Higgins praised the men's actions, saying they were well prepared and built themselves a shelter from ferns.

"They had sleeping bags, food and warm clothing with them, and managed to get a fire going before the rain set in," she said.

"Once they realised they weren't going to be able to get out, they stayed together and stayed put.

"They made themselves quite visible and easy to find."

Along with warm clothes and food and water, police recommend people venturing into the outdoors take a map, GPS and emergency shelter, and make sure someone knows their plan, Higgins added.


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