Partner of missing tourist Robert Galdamez fears the worst

By Tracey Roxburgh

Robert Galdamez was last seen at 3.10pm yesterday at the top of Skyline's gondola. Photo / Supplied via police
Robert Galdamez was last seen at 3.10pm yesterday at the top of Skyline's gondola. Photo / Supplied via police

The partner of an Australian tourist missing in Queenstown has grave concerns for his safety.

A search and rescue team was sent out last night after 25-year-old Robert Galdamez failed to return from a walk on Ben Lomond, above the Skyline complex.

Up to 10 searchers and a helicopter resumed the search this morning, combing the wider area from Ben Lomond to One Mile, with police also handing out posters to people heading up the gondola or track.

Tim Heritage told the Otago Daily Times this afternoon that Galdamez had only arrived in the resort with a friend on Monday and was to return to Melbourne on Saturday.

Heritage had received some messages from his partner of four years while he was walking up Ben Lomond, but then lost contact with him.

"He did say he was getting scared and I kept asking him, 'Are you alright, are you alright?' and he didn't respond back to my messages.

"Later on I checked and it had been an hour. He's not a person to just not reply back."

Heritage understood his friend had set out on the walk with Galdamez, but turned back after about 30 minutes.

Galmadez continued alone. While physically fit, he also had a history of epilepsy, Heritage said.

"My fear is he's up there alone. He's not full-blown, has fits, seizures every month or so ... but he has collapsed before and that's what I worry about."

Galdamez was last seen at 3.10pm yesterday at the top of Skyline's gondola. He was wearing blue Nike shoes, black sports leggings and a dark green North Face puffer jacket.

He last made contact via his tablet just after 6pm.

Senior Constable Terry Wood said the message from Galdamez was he ''wasn't sure where he was'', was not "too comfortable" and believed it would be dark soon.

Police were contacted about 8pm and began the search.

Snr Const Wood said Galdamez had planned just to do a day walk.

"[He] certainly wasn't prepared to go out for the evening. He has no food and very little water.''

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Queenstown police (03) 441 1600

- Otago Daily Times

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