Two men lost in forest after fleeing police

12:28 pm on 14 August 2017

A search has been launched for two men who got lost in the Kaimanawa Forest after they fled police in a car, before ditching it and running off into the bush.

The men fled into the Kaimanawa Forest

The men fled into the Kaimanawa Forest Photo: DOC

The search was started after one of the men called 111 on a phone, asking for help before the phone's battery died.

Police said they had serious concerns for the welfare of the two men, with cold and wet conditions in the area.

Due to their lack of experience in the bush and the inappropriate clothing they were wearing, police said it was likely both of them will be suffering from hypothermia.

Police believe the two men, aged in their 20s, are the same two individuals who fled police in a stolen car on Saturday.

Police tried to stop the stolen car on Saturday afternoon, with the driver fleeing north on the Desert Road.

The car was eventually abandoned on a track off Tree Trunk Gorge Road and the driver and passenger ran off into the bush.

By Sunday, police said it was clear the men had become lost in the bush, after receiving information from family members and a 111 call from one of the offenders.

Police said the caller only had 2 percent of battery life left on his phone, so they had minimal details about their location.

A helicopter was used in the search yesterday, but they were unable to locate the two men.

Search and rescue teams and a dog unit have returned to the bush today, with the helicopter due to continue searching when weather lifted.

Anyone in the area is asked to contact police immediately if they see, or have seen, two men in the Kaimanawa Forest area today.