New Zealand search for Mount Cook climbers called off

image captionMount Cook attracts climbers and walkers from all over the world

Rescuers in New Zealand have called off their search for three climbers missing presumed dead on Mount Cook.

Aerial searches of the mountain, also known by its Maori name Aoraki, have turned up no sign of the men.

Sydney doctor Michael Bishop, 53, Yohann Viellehner, 58, from Germany and his 27-year-old son Raphael were last seen in the early hours of Monday.

Police said the men were roped together when they set off for the summit. They failed to return to their hut that day.

Police spokesman Brent Swanson said the families of the men were upset the search had stopped, but were aware of why the decision was made.

"The search team are obviously disappointed with the result and our thoughts are with the families in Australia and Germany," he said in a statement.

He said police would re-evaluate their search plans if they got any new information or sightings.

Mt Cook, in the South Island, is New Zealand's tallest peak at 3,724m (12,217ft). It is a popular challenge for climbers from around the world because of the skills required to reach its summit.

More than 230 people have died on the mountain since it was first climbed in 1894.

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