British hiker missing for five days in New Zealand mountains

Police rescue team searching for the missing hiker Image copyright New Zealand Police
Image caption Rescue teams are battling bad weather looking for the missing hiker

Police have named a British man missing for five days in a New Zealand mountain range as 49-year-old Darren Myers.

Mr Myers had been due back from a five-day hike in the Tararua range on Saturday, but failed to return.

A search operation began on Sunday, but efforts have been hampered by bad weather, falling temperatures and snow.

Police said on Tuesday that they had "grave" concerns for the hiker's wellbeing.

The search resumed in a limited capacity on Wednesday, amid ongoing poor weather conditions on New Zealand's North Island.

Police hope to use a helicopter for thermal imaging if visibility allows.

Image copyright New Zealand Police
Image caption 'Conditions were just about as bad as you can get up there,' police say

Mr Myers, a British national, is a resident of New Zealand's capital Wellington. He had been hiking the Tararua Northern Crossing, a popular trek that can take up to five days. His last communication was a text message sent to his wife on Thursday morning.

'Conditions as bad as you can get'

"The day he sent that text message the weather conditions were particularly bad out there, with wind gusts of up to 145km/h, very poor visibility and there was also rain," police search and rescue incident controller, Sergeant Tony Matheson told Radio New Zealand.

"The day he was moving on from that hut, the conditions were just about as bad as you can get up there."

According to New Zealand's Department of Conservation, the Tararua Northern Crossing "is recommended for experienced trampers only, and requires good navigation and map reading skills".

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