Police searching for tramper find body

Last updated 20:44 06/12/2011
Sharny Abbott
MISSING: Nelson man Sharny Abbott, 23, was last seen at Starveall Hut in the Mt Richmond Forest park on Sunday afternoon.

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LATEST: A body, believed to be that of missing Nelson tramper Sharny Abbott, was found this evening by police.

The body was found about 5.50pm in the Roding River, about 400m downstream from the Hackett junction in Mt Richmond Forest Park, south of Nelson, police said.

Mr Abbott, 23, failed to return from from his tramp on Sunday as planned. The police search for him began this morning, and earlier in the day police spoke with a party of trampers who last saw him at Starveall Hut about 1pm on Sunday.

There has been heavy rainfall in the area since Sunday but police said Mr Abbott was well equipped and had out outdoor experience, having previously been in the army.

He'd left on his tramp last Friday morning, expecting to be away six days but phoned his family on Saturday night to say he was coming out the next day due to bad weather.

He said his cellphone battery was nearly flat and they never heard from him again.

Police said next of kin had been notified but formal identification was yet to be carried out.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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