4 Jan 2015

Search fails to find missing climbers

7:08 am on 4 January 2015

A helicopter search yesterday for the bodies of three climbers missing on Aoraki Mt Cook since Monday has found nothing. Police say they will decide on the next step today.

Aoraki/Mt Cook.

The three climbers were last seen on Aoraki Mount Cook early on Monday. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Australian Michael Bishop, 53, and German father and son Raphael and Johann Viellehner, aged 58 and 27 respectively, were last seen on Linda Glacier early on Monday morning, as they set out for a day-long climb.

A storm raged for several days, hampering rescue operations throughout the week.

Senior Constable Brent Swanson, who is leading the search, said any hope of finding the men alive had been abandoned and the focus was on recovering their bodies.

He said police and Department of Conservation staff would reassess the search tomorrow afternoon, and that the weather should be favourable for searching over the next few days.

Police have told the families of the three climbers that their bodies may never be found.

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