Police last night ended their official search for a missing French hiker as his friends and a team of former Gurkha soldiers decided to launch a final hunt today. Pascal Vernhes, 35, disappeared on Castle Peak on August 30 but searchers have told his wife, Patricia, not to give up hope until they finish scouring the slopes tonight. 'Like us, she won't give up until the last second,' said an exhausted Iain Grist, chairman of PR Asia who joined the search over the past eight days. Mr Vernhes, father of two young girls, is a finance director at PR Asia. The search received a boost yesterday when seven former Gurkha soldiers and an Australian pilot climbed the toughest cliffs and slopes. Mrs Vernhes returned from a holiday in Paris last week after hearing that her husband was missing. The children remain there. Police, who called off the official search on Friday night, resumed it yesterday after high-level pressure from French diplomats. Mr Grist said friends and colleagues would launch a final search today. 'If he's in there and alive, it's the miracle we're looking for,' he said. Mr Grist said they were satisfied with the efforts of police searchers and Civil Aid Service mountaineers. A 41-strong platoon of the elite Police Tactical Unit checked the ridges and tracks yesterday. A Government Flying Service Blackhawk helicopter continued conducting sweeps across the 500-metre peak. Its crew used special equipment during night searches last week to detect Mr Vernhes' body heat without success.