Weather holding up alpine search

01:00, Mar 05 2014
christian prehn
MISSING: German tramper Christian Prehn.

Bad weather has again prevented searchers from entering the Travers Saddle area of Nelson Lakes National Park to look for missing German tourist Christian Prehn, 19.

Search coordinator Senior Constable Dave Colville said this morning that 80-knot winds meant conditions were "totally unsuitable" for search teams to head into the area today.

Snow, rain and severe gale-force winds are forecast for the park.

Mr Colville said the winds were expected to drop overnight, and his team hoped to resume the search at 9am tomorrow, "fingers crossed".

Mr Prehn was last seen on Tuesday last week, and police hold grave concerns for his safety.

Mr Colville said the public had been helpful as police tried to piece together data about where Mr Prehn had been headed.


Another German man who had stayed with him at Travers Hut and another German couple had come forward to provide good information about his movements.

Police are still seeking a German woman named Angela Bahr, who is believed to have spoken with Mr Prehn at one of the huts.

A pack later confirmed as being Mr Prehn's was found on Saturday beside the track on the Travers Saddle. It contained food for up to five days, a medical kit and wet-weather gear.

Inquiries with other trampers who have been in the area suggest it might have been there for up to a week.

Mr Prehn is from Krefeld, and his pack had a supporter's tag for the ice hockey team Krefeld Pinguine.

He came to New Zealand in October, intending to travel around the country.

A talented saxophonist, Mr Prehn played baritone saxophone in a quartet called Multiphonic with Fabian Blumke, Silas Kurth and Simon Streit. The group formed in 2007, and was a prizewinner in a national German competition, Jugend Musiziert, and also won the International Ensemble and Soloist Contest held in Kerkrade, The Netherlands.

The quartet toured Portugal at the end of last year. In an article about the tour published in Krefeld newspaper Westdeutche Zeitung, Mr Prehn was quoted as saying he would "soon disappear for a year in New Zealand".

Police are liaising with his parents.

Anyone with information that may assist the search should contact Nelson police, ph 03 546 3840.