Police battling atrocious weather and darkness on Tuesday night
inserted a fourth team of searchers along the Kaupokonui Stream in
Taranaki after a woman was swept away in its rain-swollen current.
woman, 56, whose name has not been released, and her teenaged daughter
were tramping back to Dawson Falls from Lake Dive Hut on Mt Taranaki
when they tried to cross the stream in Egmont National Park on Tuesday
On the other side of the stream, a fork in the track
would have taken them down through the mountain side’s “goblin forest”
to the Dawson Falls Visitors Centre, about a three- or four-hour walk
from the hut.
The woman was swept away while crossing the
waist-deep current. Sergeant Andrew Ross said police were alerted about
12.30pm when the teenager called them from a cellphone.
streams are little more than a trickle normally but heavy rainfall can
turn them into a raging torrent. An hour later they can be back to
normal,” Ross said. “We have serious concerns for the woman’s safety.”
initial three search and rescue teams started following the woman
downstream, but as darkness fell a fourth team was assembled to
continue the search along the stream margins.
The stream rises high on Fantham’s Peak, on the southern slope of Mt Taranaki and flows to the coast about 5km west of Manaia.