Tourist's texts to Greece save him in New Zealand

Mon Feb 8, 2010 3:09pm EST
 
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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A tourist who got lost on a New Zealand mountain was rescued after sending text messages to his family in Greece, newspapers and websites reported on Monday.

Marios Symeonidis was visiting Mount Ruapehu, home to New Zealand's largest skiing and snowboarding area, this weekend with a friend, but then lost his companion while taking photographs, website www.stuff.co.nz reported.

He was not equipped for an overnight stay and was only wearing light clothing.

Symeonidis sent text messages to his family in Greece, telling them he was lost. They then passed on the information to police in New Zealand via Greek emergency services.

Four teams were dispatched to rescue Symeonidis, who ended up spending the night on the mountain and was then picked up in the morning by another tourist, who drove him to the rescue teams.

Rescue pilot Henry de Waal said Symeonidis was well after his ordeal, and extremely hungry.

"He ate all of one of the guys' chocolate bars," de Waal told the Waikato Times newspaper. "He was actually lucky that it was quite a warm night."

(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Nick Macfie)