Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Searchers follow up reports of tramper sighting

Searchers looking for Karamea tramper Andrew Ross White, last seen entering the famous Heaphy Track, are following up reports of a sighting by a member of the public.

There are concerns for the welfare of the 55-year-old West Coaster last seen entering the track from the Takaka end on August 6.

He had spent the previous night at Nirvana Backpackers in Takaka and bought two hut tickets for the track.

Mr White, who sometimes went by the name Ross Andrews, was not well equipped and police had concerns for his welfare, police said.

This morning, search teams entered the Heaphy Track from the Karamea end after reports from members of the public who had seen a person fitting the description of Mr White in the area.

Sixteen searchers are in the area, including three dog teams. A helicopter is also being used.

The weather is currently overcast, but not raining.

Department of Conservation staff yesterday checked huts on the track.

Mr White is described as European, about 175cm tall, of thin build with grey hair that is balding on top. He wore blue-framed glasses and was likely to be wearing a baseball cap.

Anyone who has been on the Heaphy Track since August 6 and may have seen or spoken to Mr White, in Takaka or elsewhere, should contact police in Westport or Nelson.


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