Major search underway for man missing in North Taranaki

A major search and rescue training exercise in North Taranaki has very real implications, with the team looking for a man who went missing more than a year ago.

Uruti Community Hall is the base for the search, which Bill Jager from Taranaki Land, Search and Rescue, said is less an exercise and more a mission.

"I think that gives you extra purpose," said Mr Jager.

That purpose has mobilised 70 people from across the North Island to search for 31-year-old Taranaki man Karl Roberts, who went missing in August, 2017.

Constable Andrew Wong Too, the officer in charge of the search and rescue, said Mr Roberts had had a car crash up Uruti Rd, 5km from State Highway Three and 50km from New Plymouth.

His car was later found down a bank, but police believe he survived the crash. An initial two-day search found only his shoes, 3km from his car.

"We believe he made his way up a farm track to where his shoes were found. From there, that's where the mystery really begins," said Mr Too.

And that's where this weekend's operation began. It will search a 22 square kilometre area of difficult terrain for any trace of Mr Roberts.

The man's family is also involved and are very supportive of the effort, said to Mr Too.