6 Aug 2010

Air NZ pilot goes missing during Hong Kong tramp

8:46 pm on 6 August 2010

Air New Zealand says it is a great mystery why one of its pilots has gone missing in Hong Kong but he has the skills to survive in the outdoors.

Stephen Morrissey was last seen on Wednesday while tramping with another New Zealander on the Wilson Trail in the hills of the New Territories region.

Police in New Zealand say it is understood the two separated during the excursion and Mr Morrissey never turned up at a prior-agreed location.

The 51-year-old was on a day off and was due to pilot a flight to London the next day.

Hong Kong police say it is likely Mr Morrissey has had an accident on the trail he was walking, such as slipping.

Chief Inspector Maggie Sze says the trail Mr Morrissey was walking is not difficult and not easy to get lost on. Teams have searched around a cliff area, but nothing has been found.

Senior staff from Air New Zealand are now in Hong Kong with members of the pilot's family.

Chief pilot David Morgan says more than 100 people are now searching the area, along with specialist dog teams and abseiling teams.

"Steve is a very fit person, he's been tramping for a number of years. He's certainly well-versed in survival techniques as well from his earlier career in the RNZAF, so it is a great mystery. The focus at the moment is trying to find Steve's location."

Mr Morgan says Mr Morrissey has a cellphone with him but it remains unanswered.