A search for a man thought to be missing in the Mt Aspiring
National Park at the weekend was called off after several
hours when it was discovered the climber was not overdue from
his expedition after all.
LandSAR Wanaka members swung into action about noon on
Saturday after receiving a report a man had not returned from
a trip into the national park on Thursday as expected.
The man's partner, who was overseas, had raised the alarm
when she did not receive a text message from him, LandSAR
committee member Roy Bailey said.
However, contradictory information had been provided about
the man's return dates and intended route.
''It was all a bit confusing and disjointed,'' Mr Bailey
Three LandSAR volunteers spent more than an hour in a
helicopter looking for the man, an experienced New Zealand
climber who did not live in the Wanaka area. Five other crew
members formed an incident management team based at the
Wanaka Police Station.
Searchers tracked down another climber who had left an entry
in the log book at French Ridge Hut, where the allegedly
missing man had also made an entry.
The climber said he had met the man in the park and was told
he planned to follow a different route to the one searchers
had understood he would be taking, and would not be due out
until yesterday evening.
A message had been left on the climber's mobile phone and
vehicle to contact police on his return, Mr Bailey said.
He reminded people going into the mountains to leave a clear
''due out'' date with a reliable person, preferably someone
in New Zealand.