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Birchville: Concerns for Missing Elderly Walker

Concerns Mount for Missing Elderly Walker
New Zealand Police Wellington News Release
9:08am 20 February 2008

Police and civilian Search and Rescue teams are continuing to search for an elderly walker who has been missing overnight in bush near Birchville, north of Upper Hutt.

Mr Ian James Forrester, aged 83, was last seen at 2pm yesterday when he left his Trentham home by car with the intention of going for a walk. Although Mr Forrester is frail, and has a heart condition, he is a regular walker and often heads out for four hours at a time.

His family became concerned when he failed to return home and reported him missing shortly after 8.30pm.

It was not initially known where Mr Forrester had intended to walk but just before 10pm police patrols found his red Mazda stationwagon parked in Bridge Road, Birchville, near the swing bridge.

Sergeant Jo Holden, Wellington Police District Search and Rescue Coordinator, said the Birchville Dam and Cannons Point area has several tracks and logging roads. It's popular for walking and orienteering, but is steep and bush clad.

Two police dogs and handlers, a civilian search dog and handler, and Police Search and Rescue staff worked throughout the night but so far there has been no sign of Mr Forrester.

They were joined at 8am today by about 20 additional police and civilian volunteer SAR members.

Last night was fine but Sergeant Holden says it would not have been comfortable for Mr Forrester. "We're concerned that he may have slipped and fallen off one of the tracks."

Mr Forrester is slimly built, about 5ft 8in tall, European, and is believed to be wearing green trousers, a fawn shirt and fawn jacket.


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