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Woman, four children still missing
21 July 2016

Search and rescue teams continue to comb a section of Te Urewera National Park to find a woman and four children, aged 4-9, who were reported missing on Wednesday afternoon. Police launched a search and rescue operation after the group were reported overdue from a walk in the Otamatuna Ridge area, North East of Murapara. The group, who are believed to have been visiting the area, had been dropped off just after 1pm on Tuesday for the 1-2 hour walk. Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Kevin Taylor says every effort is being made to locate them.

“At this stage we have 10 search teams combing the area, supported by helicopters, with a focus on finding them as soon as possible.

“We've also got excellent support from local iwi and LandSAR volunteers with the search operation.”

Kevin understands the group are equipped with warm clothing, but it's unclear how much food they have with them. But weather in the area is currently fine, still and reasonably warm which is a positive, and police's hope is the group have been able to shelter somewhere and keep warm until they could reach them, he says.

“With young children in the group, there are obvious concerns about their welfare, but we have experienced search teams working their way methodically through the search area and our hope is that they will be found safe and well.”

The search will continue throughout the day and will be assessed as any new information came in. Anyone with any sightings of the walking party are asked to contact Bay of Plenty Police on 07 348-0099.

EARLIER:

Search and rescue teams are deployed in Te Urewera to look for a woman and four children reported missing yesterday afternoon.Police were alerted just before 4pm Wednesday afternoon when the five people were reported overdue from a walk. The age of the children ranges from four to nine. They were dropped off just after one o'clock on Tuesday for a one to two hour walk in the Waimana Valley at the northern end of the park. Search and rescue teams and a helicopter have been searching in the Otamatuna Ridge area overnight and continue today. Anyone with any sightings of the walking party are asked to contact Bay of Plenty Police on 07 348-0099.

SunLive

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