Per­son miss­ing in river

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Luke Kirk­ness

One per­son was miss­ing in a West Coast river last night after a day of in­tense rain in parts of the South Is­land.

Po­lice launched a search in the Haupiri River near Glo­ri­avale after re­ports that a per­son was miss­ing about 8pm.

The West Coast was lashed by rain for much of yes­ter­day. A swollen creek de­stroyed a bridge, rapidly ris­ing streams left high school stu­dents ma­rooned in Mt As­pir­ing Na­tional Park, and flood­wa­ters forced road and school clo­sures.

Parts of a con­crete bridge at Goat Creek on State High­way 73 washed away. Jess Dempsey, who lives at nearby Otira, said the weather there has been “ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble”.

About 25 Otago Boys’ High School Year 9 stu­dents were forced to spend an ex­tra night in Mt As­pir­ing park when the wild weather in­ter­vened.

There was am­ple food in the hut in the Matuk­i­tuki Val­ley, deputy rec­tor Mark Hooper said.

Else­where, parts of the West Coast were in­un­dated. Niwa said the Ivory Glacier had 391mm of rain from 12pm on Wed­nes­day un­til 4pm yes­ter­day — more than Clyde, Cromwell and Alexan­dra had in all of 2017. Mt Philis­tine had 294mm and Mt Cook 212mm.

Stu­dents on the West Coast had pre­pared for an overnight stay at school after they be­came stranded tem­po­rar­ily. But West­land Civil De­fence and po­lice joined forces to con­voy the South West­land Area School stu­dents out of the flood­stricken area.

Eight schools were closed on the West Coast due to the heavy rain and flood­ing, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion told the Herald.

State High­way 6 from Hok­i­tika to Haast and SH73 be­tween Arthurs Pass town­ship and Jack­son were ex­pected to be closed overnight.

The MetSer­vice said a cold southerly change would bring a sig­nif­i­cant drop in tem­per­a­tures.

A bridge at Goat Creek on SH73 was badly dam­aged, as was the Hok­i­tika-Haast road (left).

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