Hampshire man missing in New Zealand found

James Esbester
James Esbester
A Ford Transit van

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A WATERLOOVILLE man who went missing for five days in remote woodland in New Zealand has been found.

James Esbester, from Clanfield, left a note in a hut at Kahurangi National Park, saying he was planning to climb Mount Luna, on the South Island, alone.

When he failed to return a huge search and rescue mission was launched and he was eventually found in a river bed at 8.10pm local time on Tuesday.

He was spotted waving to a helicopter and was taken to Nelson Hospital for a check up suffering from hypothermia but was otherwise uninjured.

Mr Esbester’s father Mark is a well known optician who does a huge amount of work for the overseas eye care charity Vision Aid. He is also a prominent member of Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary and a bell ringer at All Saints Church, Catherington.

Speaking before his 30-year-old-old son was found Mr Esbester said his son was fit and practical and he had every hope he would survive. He described the maths and physics university graduate as a ‘free spirit’.

Mr Esbester flew into Nelson on Monday night from Australia where he had been holidaying.