Search for tramper suspended
The search for a tramper missing on the West Coast has been suspended.
Extensive search efforts have so far failed to find 50-year-old Rex Leslie Taylor, who may have been missing in the area for over two weeks.
West Coast search and rescue co-ordinator Sean Judd said today that the search had been suspended.
"We don't have any active teams in the field but we will have people going back in there."
He said the search teams had found several items that may belong to Taylor.
"We've found a bit of bedroll and some rubbish that looks like it may have fallen from a pack."
The team was trying to ascertain whether the items belonged to Taylor.
"If these items indicate we should go back in and investigate any particular area, we will," Judd said.
Taylor was reported missing by his family last 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 a hut book said he planned to head back towards his vehicle in Totara Valley Rd, possibly via the Mikonui Spur Bivouac.
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.
Judd said Taylor was an experienced tramper and often spent weeks in the region.
"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."
He had been in contact with Taylor's family in Christchurch, and they were being "realistic" about the situation.
"Whilst it's very difficult for them not having found Mr Taylor or having any result, they have been very realistic from the beginning of all this that we might never have a result," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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