Search continues for missing man

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PAM JONES

@alliedpress.co.nz

Police and the family of missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates have thanked volunteer searchers for the work they are doing to find Mr Bates, as the search for him continues.

Mr Bates was last seen on February 11 and dozens of Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) volunteers have spent hundreds of hours searching for him since then.

Friends and family are also making informal searches, and a police intelligence operation is operating alongside the official physical search.

Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw thanked the volunteer searchers, saying LandSAR volunteers were operating in trying conditions, varying between hot temperatures and rain and mud. He praised their tenacity and dedication.

Mr Bates’ family have also thanked the searchers. His mother, Trish Bates, father, John Bates, brother, Jonathan Bates, and Jonathan’s fiancee, Sidonee Gibson, have all said how grateful they are for the work people are doing and the support they have received.

Last seen . . . CCTV image of missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates taken at an Alexandra service station on Sunday, February 11. PHOTO: NZ POLICE

Last weekend, LandSAR teams combed the area around the Manuherikia River, near the rail-road bridge in Alexandra, going over previously searched areas in more detail.

A helicopter also made a search of the hills behind the Alexandra hill clock, from the confluence of the Manuherikia and Clutha Rivers, as far as the Manorburn Dam.

No new information had been received, Det Sgt Shaw said. Police had grave fears for Mr Bates’ safety and would continue searching until he was found, he said.

More physical searches for Mr Bates were planned mid-week and this weekend, Det Sgt Shaw said.