Chinese backpacker missing
Police are searching for a 28-year-old Chinese backpacker last seen on Sunday when he went for a walk in the National Park area near Mt Ruapehu, equipped with only an umbrella.
The missing man was travelling on his own around the North Island and staying at accommodation in the National Park when he went for a bush walk in the Tupapakurua Falls Track area on Sunday afternoon.
He left for the walk, which usually takes hikers about five hours to make a return trip, with only three hours until sundown, Turangi Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) manager Cliff Jones said.
With stormy weather closing in on the central part of the North Island this evening, search teams aided by dogs planned to continue looking for him all night. They were hopeful of the chances of his survival at this stage, Jones said.
Although the weather had been patchy in the time since the man went missing, the climate remained warm and the searchers were sure they were now in the right area, he said.
"We're positive he has a very good chance, he has some unconventional shelter but in all seriousness — you crouch under even a $2 umbrella in the rain it could save your life."
Police were notified of his disappearance by the owners of the place where he had been staying at around noon today, and they had been searching for the man since, search coordinator, Constable Aaron Owen said.
"Police understand that the man went for a walk unprepared for the conditions. We are very concerned for his wellbeing, especially with the inclement weather setting in."
Six search teams made up of Ruapehu land search and rescue personnel and police from Turangi, Taupo, and Taumarunui had been searching for the man today and would continue into the night, with aid from a search dog.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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