Search for Dunedin tramper scaled down

The Ahuriri Valley. Photo / File
The Ahuriri Valley. Photo / File

The search has been scaled down for missing Dunedin man David Palmer, with no success during the weekend locating him after nine days missing in the Dingle Burn area of the Ahuriri Conservation Park.

Omarama Police constable Nayland Smith said yesterday Omarama search and rescue personnel, as available, would continue the search today, along with family and friends.

However, police no longer expect to find him alive.

Constable Smith said about 25 searchers were out on Saturday, along with two specialist search dogs and their handlers. Yesterday the two dogs, their handlers and two searchers continued, but without success.

"The search has now been scaled down to the availability of search and rescue personnel. Omarama searchers are determined to find Mr Palmer to give family and friends closure," he said.

The command units from South Otago and North Otago SAR, along with police search and rescue managers had left the Birchwood homestead from where the search was being co-ordinated.

Any searchers now going into the area will work through Const Nayland.

Today, he will take them into the search area to ensure they are familiarised with the area and their efforts are co-ordinated.

While the weather at the weekend was fine and mild, it is expected to deteriorate from today with snow predicted from tomorrow.

Next weekend , Constable Smith was organising a more extensive search with Omarama SAR, possibly personnel from Twizel, friends of Mr Palmer and two dog teams.

Mr Palmer, who has type 1 diabetes, worked at the University of Otago as a health science library assistant.

He went into the Birchwood area last Saturday on a three to four hour tramp into the Dingle Burn area.

At the peak of the search last week, up to 60 people were involved, along with dog teams, an RNZAF Iroquois helicopter and seven army personnel and a private helicopter.

Originally the search focused on a 200sq km area, but also covered other adjacent areas where it was believed Mr Palmer could have gone.

- Otago Daily Times

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