26 Dec 2012

Bike find casts new light on missing tramper

8:16 pm on 26 December 2012

Searchers have found the bicycle belonging to a Palmerston North man missing in the Kahurangi National Park.

Alistair Levy, 54, was due back from a tramp on Monday, and was last heard of on Sunday when he sent a text message saying he had reached the summit of Mount Owen, west of Nelson.

An aerial search failed to find him on Christmas Day and five ground teams have spent Boxing Day scouring the Mt Owen area for him.

Mr Levy took a yellow bike with him and police say it's been found at the cafe at Kohatu, where Mr Levy had arranged with the owners to leave it.

Sergeant Mike Fitzsimons says it is likely Mr Levy had intended to tramp through from Mt Owen and use the bike to return to his car which is parked at Courthouse Flat.

German tramper named

Meanwhile, the police have released the name of a German tourist whose body was recovered from the Mt Aspiring National Park on Christmas Day.

He was 38 year old Frank Spychalski from Steigertsbraun.

Mr Spychalski was overdue from a tramp that began at the end of November

His body was discovered in a steep gully off the Cascade Saddle after an aerial search.

Police said it appears he fell on a snow patch near the top of the climb and slid down over the edge of a ridge into a gully.