Searchers may have found traces of tramper
Searchers looking a missing man on the West Coast have found several items that may belong to the experienced tramper.
Extensive search efforts have so far failed to find 50-year-old Rex Leslie Taylor, who may have been missing in the area for two weeks.
West Coast search and rescue co-ordinator Sean Judd said rescuers today discovered some items that may belong to Taylor.
"We have found some bits of junk that have fallen off a pack. It is the sort of stuff an experienced hunter may carry, like old tyre tubes," he said.
"We are now working to see if the items were the sorts of things he carried and if so it may give us a better indication of his movements."
A new dog team and a new foot patrol would come in tomorrow to continue the search for Taylor, Judd said.
"They will provide fresh eyes and legs for the search."
Judd said the team had covered a "large chunk" of the areas identified in Taylor's final hut book entry.
However, here were still more areas to search tomorrow,.
"We're trying to cover off all possibilities," Judd said.
Taylor was reported missing by his family on Tuesday after he failed to return from a tramping expedition in the Mikonui River area, south of Ross.
Taylor's final entry, on October 23, in the hut book said he 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 his car was found in the car park at the start of the track.
Taylor's family said it was not uncommon for him to spend weeks at a time in the area, Judd 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.
He had been keeping in contact with Taylor's family, who were in Christchurch.
"Obviously it's very difficult for them. Certainly the longer [the search] goes on without result that pressure is going to mount.
"To not have a result would be the worst thing for all concerned," he said.
Police were keen to hear from anyone who had 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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