4 Jan 2009

Still no sign of missing tramper

9:58 pm on 4 January 2009

The latest rescue efforts to locate a tramper missing in Mount Aspiring National Park near Wanaka have failed to find any sign of her.

A break in the weather on Sunday afternoon meant searchers were able to continue looking for 36-year-old Irina Yun in the Cascade Saddle area.

About 15 people were involved in Sunday's search which began at 2pm and covered an area of about 20 square kilometres.

Irina Yun left the Aspiring Hut for the Dart Hut over the Cascade Saddle at 7am on Wednesday and was last seen about 9.30am carrying only a small pack.

The head of the search and rescue team Sergeant Aaron Nicholson said searchers need to cover some very steep country with difficult bluffs on the Cascade Track from Aspiring Hut up to the Cascade Saddle.

But he said searchers have covered most of this area, with no sign of the Auckland woman.

Mr Nicholson says the four search teams returned to Wanaka on Sunday evening before a decision is made on whether to launch another search on Monday.

Mr Nicholson said the likelihood of Ms Yun surviving decreases by the hour, particularly given several days of bad weather in the area.

Police earlier said there is a strong possibility that she has fallen into a swollen river.

They said Ms Yun is new to alpine tramping and police hold grave fears for her safety because of the area's hazardous terrain and poor weather conditions.

Ms Yun's former partner, with whom she has a four-year-old daughter, arrived in Wanaka on Sunday.

Ms Yun's friends described her as an outdoor enthusiast, but an inexperienced alpine tramper.

They provided police with background on her equipment, travel plans and helped them to make contact with her family in Europe.