Searchers are hoping a change in tactics will help them find missing tramper Darren Myers – 10 days after the Wellington-based man walked into the Tararua Range.
Three teams of Search and Rescue volunteers have been taken into the Tararuas loaded with enough food and equipment to last them four days.
“Previously, people were only able to commit for a couple of days and it’s not working with that environment. We need them in there longer,” incident controller, Sergeant Tony Matheson said on Thursday.
“It’s trying to get the right numbers of staff in there to get the job done when opportunities arise without having to spend too much time ferrying them around.”
Search and Rescue are investigating the routes Myers, 49, may have taken as he tried to reach his goal of Holdsworth Station, and places that he may have made mistakes in his navigation.
Matheson said the search had been boosted by two Air Force helicopters which spent much of Thursday ferrying the teams in, and also searching for Myers who is from the Karori suburb of Wellington.
The air force pilots are being aided by pilots from Amalgamated Helicopters who are sharing their knowledge of the terrain.
“We did get a reasonable amount of search-flying done today before the weather turned on us.
“We had one more four-day team to get into the range but hopefully, we’ll get them in there tomorrow [Thursday].”
Matheson said Myers’ wife, Kim Shaw, remained positive her husband can be found.
“She’s grateful for all the thoughts and help that’s being provided.
“It’s been several days now, but he’s got good gear with him.
“We’re maintaining optimism, we’re getting some good patches of weather now and again, and we’ve still got a lot of places to search.”
Matheson said the searchers had received plenty of support from the public through food being dropped off and offers of help.
While searchers appreciated the support, Matheson said that the air search needed to be managed by the searchers – not members of the public.
“There has been the odd aircraft that has gone into the search area to provide assistance. When the weather fines up, there could be fixed wing or helicopter operators who choose to enter the area.
“They just need to bear in mind that there is a significant amount of aircraft activity going on there. We appreciate that people like to help, but we need to take ownership of the ground to be able to do that safely.”