31 Dec 2010

Missing runners found safe and well in Bay of Plenty

12:33 pm on 31 December 2010

Three runners missing in bush in the Bay of Plenty have been found safe and well.

An extensive search and rescue operation was launched about 4pm on Thursday after relatives alerted police that a 16-year-old girl, her brother and a family friend, both 26, had failed to return from a run near Lake Rotoma.

Police say the runners were ill-prepared, as all were lightly clothed and not prepared for a cold night in the bush.

Eastern Bay of Plenty search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Andrew O'Reilly says the runners were found about 8am on Friday about 4km from the nearest road.

Mr O'Reilly says they were hungry, tired and relieved to see the search team. They emerged from the bush about 10.30am.

The incident shows the importance of carrying maps, compasses or a GPS in the bush, he says.