Search for Waihi bushman who vanished from farm
Grant Ridley is a capable bushman.
But his disappearance from the farm bordering the Waihi coastline where he was living and working for the last few months is out of character, say family and police.
A large search is underway for the 46-year-old local who has not been seen or heard from since Saturday.
His car remains parked next to the paddocks. All of his possessions remain there too.
In four days he has made no contact with his parents in Thames, or accessed any bank accounts.
On Tuesday police appealed for sightings or information on Ridley.
He is 170cm tall and has brown hair styled into a mullet haircut.
Waikato police Search and Rescue Sergeant Vince Ranger said Ridley had been living and working on a large farm in the valley off Landlyst Rd - about half way between inland Waihi and Whiritoa.
On Saturday another resident on the farm noticed Ridley was missing and called the police, he said.
‘‘We are concerned as to where he is. It’s not a normal thing for him to do, just go missing like that.
‘‘He is quite a confident man in the bush but he wouldn’t normally just up and go.
‘‘There has been no contact by him with anybody since Saturday that we are aware of.’’
Police were not aware that Ridley had taken any belongings with him, Ranger said. There had been no reports of Ridley making contact with anyone.
A fixed wing aeroplane had scoured the coastline from Waihi beach past the Orokawa Reserve up to Whiritoa.
Ranger said the farm was surrounded by bushland and other farms, making for a significant dense and prickly search area.
‘‘We are intending to search along the shoreline, and spread out through the bush area adjacent to the farm block.
‘‘It’s very thick blackberry, and pine bush in areas with scrub, and it’s steep. Pretty hard stuff to get through, and makes it very slow to search.’’
Eight search teams had been out combing the area.
‘‘The plan is to stay in that area until something comes of our searches or other information comes in.’’
His mother, Ann Ridley, said it was out of character for her son to disappear.
‘‘He’s a bushman so he might have just decided he didn’t want to be a bushman anymore.’’
She last saw her son on his birthday on September 24.
For the last few months he had been working and living on the farm near Waihi. She had heard from him intermittently.
Anyone who has seen him or may have information that can help police find Ridley is being urged to contact Waihi Police on (07) 863 8179.
Information can also be left anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Grant Ridley has been missing since Saturday.