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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Bad weather affects search

Former St Matthew’s Collegiate student Jessica O’Connor is still missing. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

The arrival of bad weather has increased the urgency of the search for missing trampers, former Masterton resident Jessica O’Connor and her companion Dion Reynolds, in Tasman’s Kahurangi National Park.

Up to 100mm of rain was expected to fall in the 24 hours to early yesterday afternoon.

Police said on Sunday that bad weather could begin to affect search capabilities over the next few days. They were monitoring conditions and making plans to work around the weather.

“Search efforts will focus on areas that are safe to operate in through the rain, and teams in more exposed areas will pull out for their safety,” police said.

New Zealand Defence Force helicopter searching for missing trampers in Kahurangi National Park.

The search entered its seventh day yesterday morning.

On Saturday a cliff rescue team from Alpine Cliff Rescue Mt Cook joined the search team of around 27 people that includes volunteers, police, fire and emergency, and the New Zealand Defence Force.

O’Connor and Reynolds, both 23, are experienced in the outdoors but haven’t been seen since May 9, when they set off. They apparently did not provide anyone with their tramp plans or give a date they were due to exit the park. The area they were tramping in is known to be rugged and difficult.

Jessica’s father Mark O’Connor told Stuff that his daughter’s background in adventure tourism, horse riding, skiing and raft guiding, meant she was well-equipped for the outdoors.

”She’s a pretty resilient person, I can only hope that’s coming to the fore now.”

He thanked the police, and the teams out looking for his daughter and Reynolds.

”I appreciate everyone’s input and am hoping for the best outcome.”

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