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’13 days with no food’: Kiwis describe wilderness ordeal

“We were very lost,” Reynolds told Radio NZ, blaming heavy fog for becoming disorientated in heavy bush.

“We realised we needed water … Jess had gone to this little rocky puddle that we ended up boiling the water out of, and that was all right for us.”

Reynolds sprained an ankle half-way through the ordeal, while O’Connor also suffered a minor back sprain that caused them to “wait out their injuries”.

“It was 13 days with no food.

Dion Reynolds, left, and Jessica O'Connor, entered Kahurangi National Park in New Zealand on May 9. They were found alive after 19 days missing in the bush.

Dion Reynolds, left, and Jessica O’Connor, entered Kahurangi National Park in New Zealand on May 9. They were found alive after 19 days missing in the bush.

“The saving grace was the fact that two-minute walk across the gully was a fresh mossy stream with fresh water for us to drink. That’s what kept us alive,” he said.

He said they saw a search helicopter fly within 50 metres of the pair about a week ago, but failed to spot them in poor light.

A search helicopter flew within 50 metres of the pair about a week ago, but failed to spot them in poor light.

A search helicopter flew within 50 metres of the pair about a week ago, but failed to spot them in poor light.Credit:RNZAF/AP

Family friend Heather Turner Behringer, who helped coordinate the search, labelled the recovery effort “a miracle”.

“Truly, a hell of a place with extreme beauty. To survive it is miraculous,” she told Stuff.

The rescued pair celebrated over pizza with family and friends.

The rescue team spent Thursday morning picking up the remaining 13 searchers, and two dogs, after they spent the night in the wilderness.

AAP

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