LATEST INFORMATION 2000 HRS SUNDAY 4 JANUARY 2009
Four rescue teams searching for missing tramper Irina Yun, in Wanaka's Mt Aspiring National Park, may be forced to spend the night (TONIGHT) in the park due to poor weather.
Ms Yun, 36, left Mt Aspiring Hut at 7am on Wednesday to cross the Cascade Saddle and was last seen at 9.30am halfway between the bush line and a spot near the saddle.
She did not arrive at Dart Hut as planned.
Searchers put in a full day's work on Thursday but were kept back at base Friday and most of Saturday as a stormy weather system moved over the region.
Rescuers resumed the search for Ms Yun about 3pm this afternoon during a "small window" of clear weather. They might have to camp overnight if weather conditions deteriorated, Wanaka search and rescue spokeswoman Anna Brent said.
"At this stage we are planning to see them tonight," she said.
Ms Brent said it was unclear how much longer the search would continue.
"That really depends on weather and how well the searching goes in the mean time."
Weather conditions had been marginal, she said.
"It's coming in and out."
Ms Brent said the team remained "optimistic" about the search.
"It was really wet and cold up there yesterday, new snow about, obviously the longer out from the time she went missing the more difficult the search becomes."
"We are always hopeful of finding something," she said. FINISH
Posted earlier today
Ms Yun's former partner, Oleg Amiton, still holds out hope for her survival.
Mr Armiton and Ms Yun have a four-year-old daughter, Liann, together.
He said Ms Yun may have been overconfident but was experienced in mountain climbing.
"She used to be a mountaineer in Kazakhstan. We feel that she is alive and very frightened," he said.
As bad weather continued to hamper rescue efforts for a lost tramper in Mt Aspiring National Park near Wanaka yesterday, her former partner remained hopeful she would still be found alive.
Irina Yun, photo above, 36, has been missing since New Year's Eve. She left Mt Aspiring Hut at 7am on December 31 to cross the Cascade Saddle and was last seen at 9.30am halfway between the bush line and a spot near the saddle.
The web designer has now been missing for five days in adverse weather conditions including heavy rain and snow.
Oleg Amiton, her ex-partner and father of her four-year-old daughter Liann, said Yun had experience in alpine climbing.
"She used to be a mountaineer in Kazakhstan. We feel that she is alive and very frightened," Amiton said from Yun's home overlooking Laingholm Beach in West Auckland.
According to her ex-partner, Irina used to climb in Kazakhstan. Here are the Tien Shan mountains at Talgar Pass, not far from Almaty.
"She is an artist, a photographer, she loves landscape photography.
"She was hoping to take some photos up there."
He said Yun had four to five years' intermittent mountaineering experience in her native Kazakhstan. She would head to the mountains to climb most holidays and has climbed in Mt Aspiring National Park before.
Yesterday I said the following : "Uzbeks are tough people. In addition she is a yoga aficionado and an experienced rock climber and tramper, so she's likely to have inner resources that could pull her through some days of bad weather, if she was able to make a shelter and protect herself from the elements. Let's pray for her survival."
I have that feeling of hope. In my heart and soul, I hope so sincerely that she survives.