Missing Chch tramper named
DEIDRE MUSSEN, ANNA TURNER AND CAROLINE KING
Police have named the man missing on the West Coast as Rex Leslie Taylor, 50, of Christchurch.
Taylor was reported missing by his family yesterday, nearly two weeks after his expected return from a tramping expedition in the Mikonui River area, south of Ross.
An extensive search, which involved two dog teams and a team on foot, yesterday failed to find him.
His final entry in a West Coast hut book has given rescuers vital information on his movements.
West Coast search and rescue co-ordinator Sean Judd said the search resumed today.
Land Search and Rescue dog teams and two ground teams are searching the area, and a specialist whitewater search team will also join the hunt.
Judd said the weather in the area was favourable and rescuers would focus on the Mikonui River and the Explorer Hut.
"It's where we found, at this stage with the information we have, his last hut entry," he said.
The entry, on October 23, said Taylor planned to head back towards his vehicle in Totara Valley Rd, possibly via the Mikonui Spur Bivouac, Judd said.
It said he expected to be out on October 25, but the man's car was found in the car park at the start of the track.
"That time delay is certainly of concern for us," Judd said.
The man's family said it was not uncommon for him to spend weeks at a time in the area, he said.
"He's experienced, knows the area well, has done a lot of tramps like this and spent a lot of time in the hills on his own and goes for quite long periods as well,'' he said.
"That's why there's been the delay in us getting a call.
"They [the family] weren't 100 per cent sure exactly when he was coming out."
Judd said the incident highlighted the importance of entering plans in a hut book.
"These hut books are crucial. It's a perfect example of that," he said.
Police were keen to hear from anyone who has been in the area in recent weeks and encountered Taylor.
He is described as being about 1.73 metres tall, of skinny build and wearing glasses.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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