A search and rescue helicopter looking for a missing tramper in Nelson has been targeted with a laser.

The helicopter was using night vision equipment yesterday to search for Alistair Levy, 54, of Palmerston North, who left Nelson on Saturday morning for a tramp in the Mt Owen area.

Nelson police Sergeant John Maxwell said when the helicopter was returning from the late night search a laser light was shone into the aircraft.

The pilot and crew located the property the laser was shone from and police have since arrested the suspect.


Mr Levy was due to meet family in Christchurch on Monday but failed to arrive.

Five teams of searchers, including a dog and specialist cavers are today in Kahurangi National Park continuing the search, covering the Bulmer Tarn, Mt Owen, Branch River and Sunrise Peak to the Owen River Valley.

The cavers were brought in to search the cave systems in the area.

Police said Mr Levy's car had been located at the start of the track at Courthouse Flat, however, his yellow Bauer Tornado mountain bike is yet to be located.

Weather in the search area remained favourable today, Mr Maxwell said.

While Mr Levy was an experienced tramper who had completed numerous solo tramps, he was not carrying a locater beacon.

Police said a number of people had come forward who were in the area at the time, but police still wanted to speak to anyone else who has been tramping in or around Mt Owen since Saturday.