The family and friends of a missing Auckland tramper believe she is still alive, but the police officer heading the search says that scenario would be miraculous.
Irina Yun, aged 36, has been lost in the Mt Aspiring National Park for a week. Rescuers found her backpack near the Dart River on Monday and Sergeant Aaron Nicholson says that indicates she was swept away by the raging waters.
Her friends and family believe she may be lying injured in the gorge, and say she is able to survive in difficult conditions. In an open letter, they are asking the police not to give up their search.
However, Sergeant Aaron Nicholson has spoken to them and explained that Ms Yun's survival chances are virtually nil.