Search continues near Hokitika for missing hunter

The search for a man who hasn't been heard from for a week after going hunting in the Wanganui River area, south of Hokitika, is continuing today.

The 35-year-old man was last heard from when he went into the area last Tuesday to hunt for deer and tahr. He was due out on Friday, or Saturday at the latest. The man had headed to Hunters Hut, at the head of the Wanganui River.

Officer in charge of the search, Sergeant Sean Judd, said the man was carrying a personal locater beacon, however it had not been set off.

"He was reasonably well equipped we understand, with food for that week."

Search teams currently in the field were made up of police staff and members of Land Search and Rescue from both Hokitika and south Westland.

Weather conditions were favourable allowing search teams to cover areas they were not able to yesterday.

Previous search efforts included a helicopter, which flew over the area the man was believed to have been in and was also used to deploy a specialist white water rescue team which kayaked the main river yesterday.

A tarpaulin identified as belonging to the missing man was located on the banks of the Wanganui River.

The man's parents were currently travelling to Hokitika and his name was expected to be released following further consultation with them.

West Coast police search and rescue co-ordinator senior constable Mike Tinnell yesterday said heavy rain in the area last week had caused rivers to rise quickly and there was the possibility the man was holed up because of the swollen rivers.

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

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