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Mum and daughter tell how they survived

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/05/2016

A North Carolina mum fought tenaciously to save her daughter during a four-night ordeal in the New Zealand bush.

The story of how Carolyn Lloyd, 45, and Rachel Lloyd, 22, survived emerged on Sunday as Rachel recovered in Wellington Hospital.

The pair held each other for warmth at night, had meals of a few nuts and when Rachel "lost all my senses" her mum carried her on her back, made a camp and built a help sign in a river bed.

Rachel told media they screamed at the top of their lungs when they saw the helicopter on Saturday and she feared she would have been "a goner" within hours if it had not arrived.

They were prepared for a day walk when they set off on the Kapakapanui Track, in Tararua Forest Park near Waikanae on Tuesday morning.

They reached the summit but the markers changed colour and they got lost on the way down. There was no way to climb back up in the steep terrain they found themselves in.

They spent the first night on a narrow ledge above a gushing stream and were too scared to sleep. Some media report they slept up a tree.

The next day Rachel fell into water. They ultimately settled in a crevice near a stream for two nights.

"I lost my vision. I was losing all my senses ... I lost mobility in my feet," Rachel told Fairfax.

She told Radio New Zealand, "We knew I was going to go first".

"I was telling her certain things to tell people - my dying wishes pretty much - my mum was basically watching me die which was really, really hard," she said.

Then help arrived in the form of a helicopter.

"It landed and it was very surreal ... I honestly felt like when I was sleeping I was having a few dreams and I felt like I had died and it was another illusion. It was one of the happiest moments of my life," Rachel told the NZ Herald.

Mrs Lloyd's brother John Schumacher released a statement thanking "all the amazing police staff, helicopter pilots, search team members, dog guides, volunteers and news teams who kept us informed".

Police put out a statement on Friday calling for sightings of the missing women, saying they had not checked out of a motel as expected, had not dropped off a rental car and had not contacted family.

Within hours the car was located at the start of the track and the search began in earnest at first light on Saturday.

Rachel Lloyd was a valedictorian of the graduating class at North Carolina State University last December and had been on an exchange to Massey University, which she plans to complete. Her mother was visiting her.

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