Specialist cavers and a rescue helicopter will today resume
their search for a tramper missing in Kahurangi National Park
Search co-ordinator Sergeant Mike Fitzsimons said police held
grave concerns for the welfare of Alistair Levy, 54.
Seven search teams spent yesterday searching for him but
found no trace.
Police said Mr Levy left Nelson on Saturday morning. He sent
a text message on Sunday to say he had reached the summit of
the 1875m Mt Owen and has not been head from since.
The Palmerston North man was due to pick up his bike from a
cafe in Kohatu and cycle back to his car at the start of the
track at Courthouse Flat, but never made it.
He has been described as an experienced tramper but had no
emergency locator beacon on him.
A local rescue helicopter was grounded yesterday due to poor
weather but police hoped to have it back in the air today.
The area is riddled with caves - New Zealand's longest cave
system, the Bulmer Cavern runs 66km through Mt Owen.
Mr Fitzsimons said the rescue volunteers had given up their
Christmas Day and Boxing Day to look for Mr Levy.
"They do a great job and they're very skilled, dedicated
Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter crewman Hamish Pirie was
part of a team which flew over the mountain from 11pm on
He said it was "extremely rugged" terrain they were looking
"It's marble, it's very broken ... there are deep crevasses,
lots of holes into caves, lots of bluffs and drop-offs and
extremely dense bush and steep terrain. The upper part is