Update: Missing hunter leaves note

Police remain hopeful and determined in the search for a missing hunter after discovering a note dated yesterday stating that he was alive and well but lost.

Siow Hong Kuik, known as Desmond, was last seen on Sunday afternoon when he left his hunting party at their camp near the Waititi Stream presumably to go on a lone hunt. When he didn't return his friends went looking for him and then raised the alarm.

Yesterday teams of police and Whakatane LandSAR volunteers searched the area on foot and on horseback as well as utilising two police dogs, two kayaks, and a helicopter.

Aware that Desmond's philosophy when lost is to head down river, the search teams initially concentrated on areas adjacent to the Waititi Stream.

Yesterday afternoon a note was discovered in Kouanui Hut which was dated 22 October. It indicated that he was lost but had some food he had found in the hut.

The lukewarm remains of a fire also suggested he had stayed at the hut overnight Monday. Today police and LandSAR volunteers from Rotorua have joined the search.

Approximately 40 people are involved in the search. AREC (Amateur Radio Emergency Communications) have also assisted and the local marae and community have been helping with the search and keeping everyone involved in the operation feed and watered.

Senior Sergeant Bruce Jenkins of the Whakatane Police said: "We never give up hope in these situations and finding the note has further motivated the teams. It has been a very cold night but we have a clear day with no adverse weather which will at least help the search teams cover some more ground."

Desmond is a relatively experienced hunter who has been to the area several times before. He is also relatively fit but is not equipped for being in the bush for any length of time.

He is wearing shorts and a good quality waterproof jacket and has no communication, GPS or compass with him.

Desmond's wife and three young children are being supported by police in Auckland and Victim Support. Other family members have arrived in the Whakatane area and are also being provided with support.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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