Tramper hunt to continue at dawn

07:04, May 08 2012
VAST LANDSCAPE: The Ahuriri Valley, where a tramper is missing.

The search for a missing diabetic Dunedin tramper will continue at dawn, with an air force helicopter and seven army staff joining the hunt.

David Charles Palmer, 53, did not return from a day tramp on the Dingle Burn Track in the Ahuriri Valley Conservation Park on Saturday.

He was reported missing by friends on Sunday.

Palmer's vehicle was found at the base of the Dingle Burn Track.

Police and volunteer searchers have been searching for Palmer since Sunday.

About 50 volunteers and police from Dunedin, Queenstown and Central Otago today searched about 200 square kilometres of rugged terrain in the valley.

Palmer has been described by his family as an experienced  tramper, but concerns are mounting for his safety.

Constable Bruce Dow, of the Oamaru police, said Palmer was "lightly clad", had type-1 diabetes and temperatures were plunging.

Dow said there were no well-marked walking tracks in the park.

The valley was in a "blackspot" for communication, making it harder to co-ordinate the operation, Dow said.

"It's vast and it's really like a needle in a haystack."


The Press