Gorge search tax­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­JORIE COOK

mar­jorie.cook@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz Searchers look­ing for a miss­ing tram­per in a re­mote Wilkin River gorge found the gorge phys­i­cally un­search­able in places, Wanaka LandSAR spokesman Phil Mel­chior says.

The un­named New Zealan­der, aged in his 40s, has gone miss­ing in river con­di­tions de­scribed by Mel­chior as a ‘‘huge wash­ing ma­chine that can­not be turned off’’.

‘‘The bot­tom line is we have foot­prints where he went into the river and have been un­able to find any sign of him com­ing out of the river,’’ Mel­chior said.

The man was tramp­ing and camp­ing in the Jum­boland area of the Wilkin Val­ley with male rel­a­tives.

About 6.30pm on Sun­day he de­cided to take a ‘‘short cut’’ down a short sec­tion of the gorge back to his camp­site, after a day trip to Lake Lu­cidus.

He was re­ported miss­ing later that evening by satel­lite phone and searches by he­li­copter and on foot be­gan from first light on Mon­day.

Ready togo : Moun­tain­biker Phoebe Young, 14, is gear­ing up to com­pete at the na­tional champs at the week­end. See story on page 3.

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