ONE News Reporter
A 14-year-old boy who spent 23 hours lost in bush "looked really relieved to see someone" when he was found, his rescuer has revealed.
Phillip Pierson, who survived freezing conditions on Mt Taranaki overnight, was released from Taranaki Base Hospital earlier today after he was found cold and wet but uninjured this morning.
The Hawera High School student was rescued by a Department of Conservation worker who was in the area at the time checking stoat traps.
DOC ranger Emma Neal said he "looked really relieved to see someone".
"He was a bit confused and the first thing he said to me was what day is it," she told ONE News.
Hawera High School headmaster Hans Konlechner said he was "ecstatic" that Phillip had been found safe, saying it was the "best outcome we could've hoped for".
The teenager went missing following a navigation exercise with the Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre (TOPEC) on the Mangaoraka track.
Steve Ralph, director of TOPEC, said an extensive search was conducted by his staff, police and search and rescue teams to locate the missing Hawera High School student.
Inspector Keith Borrell from New Plymouth police said they need to sit down with the teenager to discuss how this occurred.
"But I guess the lesson to us here is if you're in a group on the mountain you need to stick together."
Temperatures on lower Mt Taranaki reached -3C overnight, according to MetService.
It is not the first incident to hit TOPEC, in 2013 it was ordered to pay nearly $270,000 to victims' families and survivors after an ill-fated trip in 2012, in which three people died.
Spotswood College students Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye and Felipe Melo, both 17, and their instructor Bryce Jourdain, 42, were killed after being swept out to sea while climbing around Paritutu Rock at New Plymouth.
Mystery continues to surround the death of a man whose body was found in a Rotorua stream yesterday.
A post mortem examination has been completed, and while police said there is a provisional cause of death, further investigation is required to establish how he died.
Police earlier said they had identified the man, but will not release his name until informing the man's family.
The man's body was found near the walkway behind Ruth St, but police added it was too soon to speculate whether the man's death is suspicious or not.