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Search and rescue efforts suspended on Mt Cook

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

SAR Aoraki/Mount Cook Police can confirm that search and rescue efforts have been suspended for the day after a second frustrating day at Aoraki/Mount Cook. Weather conditions are currently terrible with strong winds and rain at the village and heavy snow falling in the upper reaches of the National Park. Although a small break in the weather allowed two flights yesterday the search teams consisting of personel from the Department of Conservation Rescue Team could not reach the last known position of the missing man Mr Stephen Hunter Dowall , aged 52 years. Mr Dowall was with his friend Rob Hawes, also aged 52 from Wanaka.

Both men are extremely experienced climbers having climbed extensively throughout New Zealand.

Mr Dowall in currently residing in Myanmar and works for the United Nations.

The pair left the Mount Cook village at 4a.m on Thursday intending to reach the Empress Hut high up in the head of the Hooker Glacier.

They became separated mid-afternoon and Mr Dowall failed to reach the hut. The search and rescue operation commenced at 9.30 p.m on Thursday and will continue tomorrow when it is hoped there will be a significant improvement in the weather. As time passes the concern for the safety of Mr Dowall increases but we are still hopeful he has managed to find shelter form the weather and will be located safe and well says Incident Controller Constable Joe Rush, Twizel Police.

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