Rescue team may not reach missing climber tonight

An alpine cliff rescue team were flown to near Mount Aspiring, where an Australian climber has gone missing. Photo: Sean Nugent
An alpine cliff rescue team were flown to near Mount Aspiring, where an Australian climber has gone missing. Photo: Sean Nugent

The search and rescue helicopter looking for a missing Australian climber on Mount Aspiring may be unable to reach the location tonight due to bad weather.

A Maritime New Zealand rescue coordination centre spokesman said the activated beacon had moved slowly this afternoon, and was now located at the Quarterdeck Pass, around 2300m above sea level on the edge of the Bonar Glacier.

The spokesman said the search party would decide before dark whether to drop the alpine cliff rescue team as near as possible to the site, where they could tramp to the climber's location, or, to drop two members at Aspiring Hut to keep an eye out for a break in the weather and an opportunity to reach the man.

However, the spokesman said the weather was not looking good and the next opportunity was looking like tomorrow afternoon. 

A Maritime New Zealand rescue coordination centre spokesman said police were alerted at around 8am this morning that a 28 or 29-year-old Australian male was overdue after setting out to climb Mount Aspiring on Friday.

The car of the climber, who was due back at noon yesterday, was found to be still at the car park where he left it.

A beacon near the mountain was activated at 12.15pm today and the rescue coordination centre took over the search.

An Aspiring Helicopters rescue helicopter flew to Wanaka to pick up an alpine cliff rescue team, who would search for the missing man.

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