Search for missing tourist scaled down

Last updated 12:00 08/03/2014
christian prehn
MISSING: German tramper Christian Prehn.

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The search for German tourist Christian Ulf Erik Prehn in the Travers Saddle area of Nelson Lakes National Park has found no trace of the missing man.

Search co-ordinator Senior Constable Dave Colville said the operation would now go into a limited continuous search phase, which meant further ground searches would only be activated when new information came forward.

Teams of experienced searchers and a helicopter crew have spent the last two days scouring the area Mr Prehn was believed to have been in. Searchers were also working in the area earlier in the week, but had to retreat when bad weather struck.

Search teams had completed their final tasks late yesterday and all were expected out of the area last night. The 19-year-old was last seen in the alpine country almost two weeks ago.

His father Jens Prehn told the Nelson Mail this week that his son had two main intentions when he came to New Zealand: to learn as much as possible about the country, and to meet "as many different people as he ever could".

Police began searching for him after a Department of Conservation worker discovered his pack lying beside the track in the Travers Saddle area of Nelson Lakes National Park last weekend.

Mr Prehn said the family last heard from Christian on February 22, when he was in Golden Bay. "Everything seemed to be very fine for him."

Christian came to New Zealand last October on a work and travel visa, and planned to stay for a year. He is from the town of Krefeld, which is northwest of Dusseldorf and near the River Rhine.

Mr Prehn said Christian had initially hoped to traverse both islands as a backpacker, walking from north to south, but changed his plans when he decided the challenge was too great. He wanted to see as many points of interest as possible.

A police spokesperson said Christian was last seen on February 25. Several other German trampers and members of the public had since come forward to help the police figure out his movements.

Mr Colville yesterday thanked the large team of search and rescue volunteers.

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- The Nelson Mail

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