Search launched for missing tramper

A search has been launched for a tramper two weeks overdue from a solo trip on the West Coast.

Rex Leslie Taylor, 50, of Christchurch had headed into the upper Mikonui River area and left a note in a log book at the Explorer Hut on October 23 saying he expected to be out two days later.

He was reported overdue yesterday and his vehicle was located at the end of the Totara Valley Road, in a neighbouring catchment.

West Coast police search and rescue co-ordinator sergeant Sean Judd said Mr Taylor was an experienced tramper who had a history of heading into the bush alone.

"He was fit and experienced enough to be in the (rugged) area and had been leaving his intentions in log books in the huts that he has been in," Mr Judd said.

The search began last evening and two teams stayed in the area overnight. A search base was set up in Hokitika this morning, and two land search and rescue dog teams, two foot teams and a whitewater team were also put into the area.

Mr Judd said they were concerned for Mr Taylor's safety because of the length of time he had been overdue, and the fact he was travelling alone.

Police appealed for possible sightings of Mr Taylor in the Hokitika-Ross area in recent weeks. He was described as being 173cm (5ft 7in) tall, of skinny build and wearing glasses.

- By Viv Logie of the Greymouth Star

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