Search on for overdue hunter

Searchers headed into the South Westland backcountry today for an overdue hunter believed to be somewhere inland of Karangarua.

Police area commander Inspector Mel Aitken said the man, 27-year-old Hans Christian Tornmarck, from Sweden, was reported overdue on Wednesday night.

Mr Tornmarck, also known as Christian, who was usually based in the Central Otago Lakes area. 

A helicopter made a preliminary search for Mr Tornmarck yesterday, including four huts he potentially might have visited in the past week, but by last night that had turned up nothing and a ground-based search was launched this morning.

"The brief I have is it is really a large area to be searching," Mrs Aitken said. "At this stage there's no indication he has checked into those huts."

Mr Tornmarck's vehicle was still parked where he left it for what was to be a five to six-day hunting trip.

Mrs Aitken said police had "some concerns" for his welfare given the wide search area and the weather conditions.

However, Mr Tornmarck was known to have a good level of outdoor experience and was well prepared in terms of the gear he had on him at the time he set out. He had also left his intentions with a friend, including instructions for the day he was due out, plus one.

At least four police staff were on the ground today, working in conjunction with search and rescue volunteers.

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