Search for beacon to continue at first light

11 October 2007, 10.15pm

The search for the source of an emergency locator beacon detected in the Hollyford Valley today is to continue at first light (around 6am) tomorrow (Friday 12 October).

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is coordinating the search for the source of the beacon, which was detected near the Hollyford Track about 1pm today.┬áSearch and rescue helicopters from Te Anau and Dunedin spent the afternoon and evening searching for the beacon’s source, one using night vision gear and the other beacon direction finding equipment, without success. The helicopters conducted both high and low level searches along an approximately 10km stretch of the track between Sunshine Hut and Pyke Lodge, about 20km north east of Milford Sound.

Pinpointing the exact source of the beacon is being complicated by the steepness of the surrounding terrain, which is interfering with the signal.

Both helicopters have now returned to Te Anau for the night and will continue to assist with the search tomorrow. A land-based search and rescue team coordinated by Te Anau Police will commence at first light, supported by RCCNZ.

Direction-finding specialists from Radio Spectrum Management in Dunedin have also been assisting with the search.

It is not yet known who or what may have activated the beacon, though inquiries are continuing through the Department of Conservation in a bid to determine who might be in the area.

Weather in the area is currently clear, with light winds and high cloud.

An update will be provided tomorrow morning as and when any new information comes to light.

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