2 Oct 2009

Search suspended for tourist in Mt Cook area

8:41 pm on 2 October 2009

A search has been suspended indefinitely for a tourist missing in New Zealand's Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park.

Kok Wong, 32, of Malaysia, has been missing since he left a hostel at Mt Cook Village on Wednesday afternoon.

Police say Mr Wong was lightly clad and poorly equipped to spend two nights outdoors.

Senior Constable Brent Swanson says searchers believe Mr Wong got into trouble on the first night and has since died from hypothermia.

The local youth hostel reported Mr Wong missing when he failed to catch his bus on Thursday. His bed had not been slept in and his gear was still in his room.

A search of the Hooker Valley and the Red Tarns area near the village was conducted on Friday amid deteriorating weather, with snow forecast to 800 metres at night.

Mr Swanson says Mr Wong's family has been notified that the search has been suspended for the time being. They are expected to arrive in New Zealand before the end of next week.