Search for miss­ing tram­pers in­ten­si­fies

Nelson Mail - - Front Page -

A lack of clear in­ten­tions or ‘‘panic’’ date for a re­turn was ham­per­ing ef­forts to lo­cate two over­due tram­pers in Kahu­rangi Na­tional Park.

Four days into the res­cue op­er­a­tion, ex­tra re­sources were as­sist­ing the search for miss­ing tram­pers Jes­sica O’Con­nor and Dion Reynolds on Fri­day.

No heat or light sources were found by the Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 he­li­copter that searched in­land from the Ana­tori River mouth overnight Thurs­day.

The he­li­copter would con­tinue to de­ploy search teams and in­stall more ra­dio re­peater sta­tions while search­ing the Ana­tori River catch­ment, po­lice said.

Res­cue co­or­di­na­tor Se­nior Con­sta­ble Dave Cog­ger of Nel­son Po­lice said items of in­ter­est had been iden­ti­fied on Thurs­day, how­ever he said there was no clear ev­i­dence to sug­gest it was linked to O’Con­nor or Reynolds at this stage.

Foot­prints and a his­toric camp­site lo­cated near the Webb River yes­ter­day had of­fered a po­ten­tial in­di­ca­tor of hu­man pres­ence.

How­ever, Cog­ger said a search dog had shown lit­tle in­ter­est in an ex­tin­guished fire at the camp­site, which in­di­cated that it had not been vis­ited for a num­ber of days.

Foot­prints found in the vicin­ity had been tracked but the di­rec­tion had only in­di­cated they had gone as high as they could on the nearby hill­tops but had not pro­gressed fur­ther.

‘‘We’re not dis­count­ing any clues, but there’s no way of telling if any­thing be­longs to Jess or Dion.’’

The search will con­tinue into the week­end with re­freshed field teams.

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