Milford Track tramper swept away

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 21:39 20/05/2014

SlideshowPompolona Creek

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Searchers have failed to find a woman apparently swept away while trying to cross a stream on the Milford Track, Fiordland.

The 22-year-old tramper, from Sydney, was last seen about 3pm yesterday at Pompolona Creek with her Australian partner.

She was apparently swept into the Clinton River, but aerial searching by a helicopter search crew today could not find her. Poor weather in the area has prevented a search on foot, police said.

A decision will be made on Wednesday morning about continuing the search, police said in a statement this evening.

Police said the woman was walking with her partner and a German tourist when she fell.

Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley said the woman's partner, also believed to be from Sydney, was suffering from shock but doing everything he could to help police with the search.

"Her partner is quite shocked. He is able to help us but he is very shocked with what's happened.

"She was trying to cross the creek but it has been swollen with severe weather we have had," she said

"We've got grave concerns. The family are on their way over to New Zealand."

The poor weather prevented a search helicopter from getting near the site yesterday after the man activated a locator beacon.

Police said Pompolona Creek has a heavy flow due to recent rainfall, and weather conditions in the area are poor with rain continuing to fall this afternoon.

The pair was visiting New Zealand, and freedom walking the Milford Track after spending some time in Queenstown. Police said they not able to release the nationality of the woman yet.

The male tramper is helping police with the search effort and is being supported by Victim Support.

The Milford Track is one of the country's most popular tramps, and is listed as one of New Zealand's nine great walks by the Department of Conservation.

 - with Sydney Morning Herald

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