Outdoor World

Body of UK woman missing in New Zealand found

bbc Image copyright Facebook/Stephanie Simpson
Image caption Stephanie Simpson is thought to have gone for a hike in Mount Aspiring National Park

Police looking for a British woman missing in New Zealand have said they have found her body.

Stephanie Simpson, 32, from Essex, is thought to have died in a “tragic accident” while on a hike last weekend in Mount Aspiring National Park.

Searchers made the discovery at about 13:40 New Zealand time (00:40 GMT) on Friday in the Pyke Creek area, New Zealand Police said.

She appeared to have been washed into a canyon after going into water.

Ms Simpson, from the Basildon area, was reported missing on Monday, when a search began in the national park in the country’s Southern Alps region on its South Island.

According to her Facebook account, she had been living in the Wanaka area since November and was working as a landscaper.

A thermal-imaging drone, dog teams, helicopter and search teams failed to find any sign of her on Thursday, and police in New Zealand had said the search was difficult due to the size and terrain of the area.

news Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The wilderness of Mount Aspiring National Park attracts a range of outdoor enthusiasts

The search continued on Friday with more teams, who focused on the Pyke area of the park.

Her body was located after aerial searches provided images of the area and her boots and backpack were spotted, police said.

Sgt Mark Kirkwood, from West Coast Search and Rescue, told the BBC there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Ms Simpson’s death and it appeared to be a tragic accident.

It seemed that she had left the hiking track, taken off her boots and gone into a waterfall, he said.

Her body was found in a canyon in the Pyke Creek area, which suggested she had been washed down into it. Her boots were about 900m (2,953 ft) upstream from where her body was discovered and her backpack was nearer to her.

“It’s a very hazardous area. We have no idea why she went into the water,” Sgt Kirkwood said.

Her body was identified by her mother and other family who were at the search site after travelling to New Zealand from the UK.

bbc Image copyright Facebook/Stephanie Simpson
Image caption Stephanie Simpson is thought to have been an experienced hiker

Sgt Kirkwood said police wanted to thank all those involved in the search for their “considerable efforts”.

“The search was extremely challenging at times, especially in consideration of the terrain, and the work of all involved is to be commended,” he said.

“Police extend their condolences to Stephanie’s family at this tragic time.”

The death will be referred to the coroner.

A crowdfunding page has been set up by a friend to support the LANDSAR rescue team.

South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe said on Twitter: “So sorry to hear that police in New Zealand have found the body of missing British (from Basildon) hiker Stephanie Simpson.

“I can only imagine the pain the family must feel and send my heartfelt condolences to family and friends.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said its staff were “supporting the family of a British woman following her death in New Zealand”.

“They have our deepest sympathies, and we will continue to do all we can for them,” a spokesman said.

Related Topics

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-51500453

Related posts