Second search to locate Swedish tourist unsuccessful
Please attribute to Sergeant Mark Kirkwood, Officer in Charge of West Coast SAR:
Hans Christian Tornmarck went missing in the Regina Creek, South Westland area in May 2017, whilst on a tahr hunting trip.
The Swedish tourist was reported overdue by a friend and a search and rescue operation commenced.
During the search, bad weather, including snow, limited the area that could be covered.
The team located his camp site, but failed to find Christian, and the search was subsequently suspended.
West Coast Police Search and Rescue (SAR) and partner agencies had been working for almost a year to return and resume the search when the weather and conditions were most favourable.
The area is two days walk from the road, between 800m-2000m above sea level and hazardous.
SAR had already retrieved two deceased persons from the area over the last three years.
In early January 2020, a drone team from USAR flew the area and captured data, which was analysed in the hope that a smaller area of interest could be identified.
Following this, a handpicked search team made up of Police, LandSAR, Alpine Cliff Rescue, four search dog teams and the USAR drone team returned on the evening of Thursday 30 January 2020 to look for Christian.
On Saturday 1 February, heavy rain was forecast for the following three days with up to 300mm rain expected.
As rain-laden clouds rolled in the search team was withdrawn around 11am.
The drone team recorded thousands of images of the search area which are to be analysed.
The team worked tirelessly to locate Christian over the 36 hours it was searching, but once again, bad weather forced them to stand down.
Christian’s family were in the area when the team was deployed.
They brought a piece of granite from Christian’s native Sweden.
The team built a rock cairn and placed the granite at the top, beside where Christian’s campsite had been found.
Our thoughts remain with Christian’s family at this time.
We would like to remind people to always be prepared when they go into the New Zealand wilderness and to take a Personal Locator Beacon, or an Inreach GPS, leave detailed trip intentions with family or friends and complete the hut intentions book.
West Coast Police SAR want to thank West Coast Civil Defence, Eagle Technology, Back country Cuisine, Fox & Franz Heli Services and Fox Glacier Top ten holid