Search for missing tramper suspended

MISSING: Alistair Levy
MISSING: Alistair Levy

The search for missing tramper Alistair Levy has been put on hold, with any further action dependent on new information.

An aerial search yesterday afternoon in the Castle Basin and bluff areas of Kahurangi National Park, in the northwest of the South Island, failed to find any trace of the 54-year-old Palmerston North teacher, police said.

"No further plans have been made for teams to enter the field. Any further search will be dependent on information coming forward."

Levy has not been seen or heard from for more than a week. The last known contact with him was on December 23 when he sent a text message saying he had reached the 1875-metre summit of Mt Owen.

He had been due to meet up with his wife and family in Christchurch on Christmas Eve, but he did not arrive and a search began on Christmas Day.

His blue Toyota Estima was left parked at Courthouse Flat near the start of the walking track.

Yesterday, a fine break in the weather in the middle of the day was the first time since Boxing Day that the Nelson Marlborough Helicopter had been able to resume an aerial search.

The area focused on was steep terrain with alpine rock that was along Levy’s intended route, based on an entry he made in the book at Granity Pass hut.

Cavers in the area have also been keeping an eye out for Levy.

The police have said they hold grave concerns for him, given the time elapsed since he was last heard from and the challenging terrain.