The Wanaka Police and Land Search and Rescue teams spent the afternoon searching for two missing Israeli tourists who were reported lost by a third member of the party.
Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, the Wanaka Police SAR Coordinator said that at about 11.30am the three men set off on foot to walk the Spotts Creek track in the Cardrona Valley to Mt Roy and return. A trip of approximately 6-7 hrs duration. Unfortunately within the first 10 minutes of the walk the party became separated. Two carried on walking and the other could not find them.
Having concerns for his companions safety, given the group all had significant hearing impairments and one with a significant sight impairment he contacted Police at about 1.00pm.
Sergeant Nicholson stated that given all the circumstances surrounding the incident he decided to initiate a search.
Two ground teams were deployed at both ends of the track and worked there way towards each other. After 6 hours of searching no confirmed sightings were made.
Sergeant Nicholson said "That given the confines of the valley system they were travelling it should have been relatively simple work to locate the missing pair but this wasn't the case"
Just prior to scaling up the search and involving aerial search teams and the like the missing pair returned to the car park a little tired but otherwise safe and sound.
Nicholson said "given the communication difficulties with the group due to language and hearing disabilities, it is still unclear as to where they have been".
They had sought advice on the track from the Department of Conversation, and had to keep following the orange markers on the track back to where they started from. "Apart from disappearing for 6 hours and not having a descent map they had got everything else pretty much right."
The three men are all in their mid twenties and have been on holiday in NZ for the past 4 weeks. They are leaving Wanaka tomorrow and heading for Queenstown.