Missing man tramping in Richmond Ranges found by searchers after three nights in rain

A young man has been rescued after spending three nights out in the open and rain in the Richmond Ranges.

Joseph, a 30-year-old local man, was last seen at Red Hills Hut in the Marlborough ranges on October 31. He was due out at Lake Chalice on Wednesday.

When he didn’t come out, the alarm was raised on Thursday by his next of kin, sparking a rescue operation.

Three police search and rescue constables, six Land Search and Rescue volunteers, and a private helicopter were tasked with searching for the man.

“An eagle-eyed helicopter staff member spotted him six kilometres from his intended exit route in the Motueka River area – an area that is heavily gorged and bluffed,” police said.

“Cold and soaked, Joseph was badly blistered with cut hands from attempting to navigate his way out, but mostly uninjured and extremely lucky.”

New Zealanders are asked to always be prepared and not to rely on digital technology and screenshots of maps to guide you out of the bush.

Police thanked the volunteers who helped in the search effort and trampers who provided information on his whereabouts.

Police tramping tips

Plan your trip: Tell someone where you are going, and let them know when to raise the alarm if you don’t return.

Beware of the weather: Our weather is very unpredictable and can deteriorate quickly. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Don’t go out in poor weather. Read and understand the long-range forecast, don’t attempt to cross flooded rivers, and have a contingency plan in the event of bad weather.

Know your limits: Don’t push your physical limits and experience.
Take the right supplies and equipment: Make sure you have the right clothing for the conditions, and emergency rations for the worst case scenario. Take appropriate means of communication and location devices such as a personal locator beacon.

Think: If you get into trouble, can you call for help? Who knows where you are? Do you have the clothing, food and equipment to stay safe until help arrives?

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