Crooks found after six weeks
Shelley Crooks used her extensive bush craft knowledge to survive six weeks in the bush with a leg injury.
The mother-of-four, who has family links in Tokoroa, had last been seen near Westport on December 22.
The 36-year-old woman had told a friend she was hitchhiking to Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty, where she was originally from.
She had not been heard from since – until Sunday night, when a member of the public recognised Crooks on a track in Punakaiki on the West Coast and called emergency services about 7pm.
Greymouth police Sergeant Michel Bloom said Crooks was in hospital receiving medical treatment, but was doing well.
‘‘This is a remarkable story of survival.’’
Crooks had set out to do a fourday walk in the Mt Bovis area when she became disorientated and sustained a leg injury.
‘‘She was well-equipped and has extensive bush craft knowledge, enabling her to survive for six weeks as she attempted to slowly make her way out of the bush.’’
Bloom said Crooks was found by a member of the public near one of the walking tracks.
She was then picked up by the West Coast Rescue Helicopter and flown to Grey Base Hospital in Greymouth.
‘‘[Crooks] wants to express her gratitude to the tramper who found her, and everyone involved in the search and rescue efforts to try and locate her,’’ Blooms said.
In January, Shelley Crooks’ father John Crooks, from Opotiki, said his daughter enjoyed tramping and hunting and was capable of living without electricity.
‘‘We’ve always been outdoor people ourselves, hunting, fishing, Shelley is a competent food gatherer, diver and she has lived without power as well so she does have that skill level,’’ he said at the time.
Police thanked everyone who helped in their efforts to find Crooks over the last six weeks.
‘‘We are ecstatic this had had a positive outcome.’’
Speaking from his Opotiki home earlier on Monday, Crooks’ father John said the family were leaving for the West Coast.
‘‘We are in a really good space at the moment; we are really grateful for everything really,’’ he said.