6 Feb 2017

Woman found after six week ordeal recovering well

8:11 pm on 6 February 2017

A woman's six week battle to stay alive in the West Coast bush is a remarkable story of survival, say police.

Shelley Crooks FB

Shelley Crooks was seen walking in Westland before she disappeared. Photo: Facebook

Shelley Crooks was found on a track near Punakaiki at about 7pm yesterday by a tramper who recognised her, gave her food and water and called for help.

The West Coast Rescue Helicopter picked her up and she was flown to Greymouth Hospital, where the police said she was doing well after receiving treatment.

Ms Crooks had set out on a four day walk in the Mount Bovis area and was last seen in Punakaiki on 22 December.

She injured her leg and was soon lost but the right equipment and an extensive knowledge of how to survive kept her alive for six weeks as she slowly made her way out of the bush.

Police said Ms Crooks was thankful to the tramper who found her and everyone involved in the search.

In January, the police had distributed flyers and spoke to locals in the Buller District as they sought information on her whereabouts.

The 36-year-old, originally from Bay of Plenty, had no fixed abode. She was walking the tracks of Westland when she disappeared.

She had told a friend she was going to hitchhike home to Opotiki but then dropped out of all contact, which her family said was unusual.