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Missing Austrian hiker rescued by copter in NZ

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Missing Austrian hiker rescued by copter in NZ
Photo: Royal New Zealand Air Force
12:11 CET+01:00
An Austrian hiker who went missing in a forest in New Zealand after being separated from the group he was with has been rescued via helicopter after being spotted in a valley on Friday.

The 21-year-old Austrian David Schopf went missing on Wednesday in the Tararua Forest Park, to the north of the capital city Wellington, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

A combination of search-and-rescue specialists and police were called in after he went missing.  

On Friday, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) deployed its new NH90 helicopter, which spotted the missing hiker in a valley on its very first mission.

The crew of the helicopter were unable to land, but lowered a winch, which was used to raise the missing hiker to safety.

The RNZAF Chief  Air Vice-Marshal Mike Yardley said the NH90 helicopters would take over key search and rescue and national security roles from the old Iroquois helicopters, which had been in service since 1966.

"The aircraft performed well during its first search and rescue mission, and demonstrated it is well-equipped to perform this type of task. The crew have also done a great job and performed well under pressure," Mr Yardley said.

"As of yesterday, the NH90 is the primary aircraft responsible for search and rescue missions, casualty evacuation in association with search and rescue, as well as transport for NZ Police and other military personnel for national security requirements," Mr Yardley added.

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