Weather hinders searches

Searches for two people missing in bush on either side of Cook Strait have been hampered by bad weather today.

An aerial search for a tramper missing in Kahurangi National Park near Nelson was suspended for the second day running.

Palmerston North man Alistair Levy, 54, was last heard from a week ago after reaching the summit of Mt Owen, in the park's southern section.

Ground search teams have been called off after combing an area described as some of the most difficult terrain police have encountered.

Senior Sergeant Steve Savage said fears for Mr Levy's welfare were very high.

Initial searches with infrared equipment and night goggles produced no results, something Mr Savage said was "concerning in itself".

"Obviously as time goes on and the search continues to be delayed a happy outcome is becoming less and less likely."

Police hoped the weather would clear enough for the helicopter to search the two square kilometre target area tomorrow morning.

"It's an area that's incredibly dense and difficult to access, and it's the only remaining gap in our search at this stage."

If the aerial search yielded no results operations are likely to be postponed pending further information, said Mr Savage.

Meanwhile the aerial search for a runner missing in the Tararua Ranges was postponed today because of heavy rain and high winds.

Alistair Shelton, 33, has been missing since going for a run on Saturday morning and failing to meet his family for lunch.

He was wearing a singlet, black shorts, lycra tights, bright green running shoes and had a small backpack.


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