Family sends birthday wish for lost son

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2014
christian prehn
MISSING: German tramper Christian Prehn.

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A German family have sent birthday wishes to their son and brother, who is missing, presumed dead, in New Zealand.

Tourist Christian Ulf Erik Prehn vanished in the Travers Saddle area of Nelson Lakes National Park in March.

Extensive searches by police and search and rescue volunteers of the area found no trace of him.

It was his birthday on Monday.

His parents, grandparents, relatives and friends put a family notice in The Press wishing him a happy birthday. The message in German, and translated into English, read: "Dear Christian, today is your 20th birthday. Wherever you are, we all think of you with love."

The birthday wishes included a photo of Prehn pulling a double thumbs-up.

The teenager's abandoned backpack was found by the track on Travers Saddle in March, initial inquiries suggesting it had been there for up to a week.

The pack was well-equipped with food for several days, a sleeping bag, clothing, emergency shelter and other personal items, including contact lens solution.

It also contained a rubber ice hockey supporter's tag for Krefeld Pinguine, a German team.

A search for Prehn started on March 2.

Five days later, the operation moved into a limited continuous search phase, which means further ground searches will only happen if new information comes to light.

Nelson police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said he was presumed dead.

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