Missing runner sparks search

SAM BOYER
Last updated 11:47 30/12/2012

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A Wellington runner missing in the bush for 24 hours has sparked a major search and rescue operation in the Wairarapa.

Ten search and rescue teams are scouring the bush in the Tararua Range for the missing man.

Alastair Shelton, 33, failed to return from a run on the Holdsworth Jumbo Circuit track by noon yesterday.

He was supposed to meet family in Masterton, but did not show up.

Police were alerted at 3pm yesterday, and have been searching for the man since.

Masterton police senior sergeant Carolyn Watson said LandSAR teams had been in the bush overnight, and operations were ramped up this morning.

‘‘We’ve put a further 10 teams in through the area – five from Wairarapa, three from Palmerston North and two from Wellington – and they’re checking all the tracks.’’

The weather was too treacherous to use a helicopter, however.

‘‘It’s very cold, windy and wet up there. Unfortunately the weather is against us.’’

It was about 3deg overnight, Ms Watson said, with wind-chill making it feel much colder.

Mr Shelton was wearing a singlet, black shorts, lycra tights, bright green running shoes and had a small back pack.

He is described as 6-foot tall and of slim build, with short brown hair. It is believed he was running alone.

Ms Watson said Mr Shelton was an ‘‘experienced mountain runner’’, though he may not have necessarily known the track he was using in the Range.

Police ask anyone in the area or has any information on Alastair Shelton to contact them immediately on 06 377 4471.

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