Thursday, 5 June 2008 - 5:24pm |
National News

Searchers hope to find tramper alive

1 min read

Police and New Zealand Land Search and Rescue specialists are not giving up hope of finding missing Polish tramper Jacek Gryzbowski alive.

"If he's hunkered down under bush and fern cover and keeping warm then it is survivable," says Inspector Mike Wright, Wellington Police District Operations Manager.

"He's out there and he needs to be found. That's what we intend to do."

Mr Gryzbowski, 28, was last seen around 9am by residents in Sunny Grove, Wainuiomata, seeking directions for the start of the Whakanui Track which runs from the street into the Rimutaka Forest Park. He was only equipped for a day tramp.

Forty Police and NZ Land SAR volunteers have been systematically checking tracks, bush and waterways since yesterday. An Air Force Iroquois helicopter was used today to help drop ground search teams into remote areas of the park and to undertake aerial searches.

The teams will be coming out of the park tonight but will return tomorrow, again supported by the Iroquois.

Inspector Wright says searchers are concentrating on the most likely areas as it is believed Mr Gryzbowski hoped to tramp to Mt Matthews and back. This is a demanding tramp and unlikely to be achieved in one day.

"We haven't excluded other areas, and have also focused on the Wainuiomata water catchment area," Inspector Wright says.

It was cold last night in the park and search teams who stayed in the Mt Matthews area overnight experienced two hail showers.

Police are still appealing to trampers, hunters and other bush users who were in the park over the weekend to contact police if they saw Mr Gryzbowski.

Inspector Wright says there's been huge community support for the search. There's also close liaison with the Polish community and Mr Gryzbowski's water colleagues.

Some of his family members are expected to arrive from Poland during the weekend.