Body of missing British hiker found in New Zealand national park

Cheryl Sanders
February 15, 2020

The family of tramper Stephanie Simpson are "grieving" following the discovery of her body in the Mount Aspiring National Park, police say.

Her boots were found yesterday in the Pyke Creek area, before her body was found around 900m downstream at around 1.40pm today.

"Due to the hard conditions in the area and the necessity for specialist crews, police do not require any additional volunteers at this time", a statement said.

Sgt Mark Kirkwood, from West Coast Search and Rescue, said police wanted to thank all those involved in the search for their "considerable efforts".

Mount Aspiring national park
Mount Aspiring national park in New Zealand where Simpson was found dead. De Agostini via Getty Images

Her death will be referred to the Coroner, Kirkwood said.

Her family arrived to the search area about the same time her body was found, he said.

Ms Simpson had been living in New Zealand since October and was reported missing when she did not turn up to work on Monday morning.

She had told friends of weekend plans to attempt the challenging four-hour hike to Brewster Hut and then move on to Blue Pools.

Search and rescue teams scoured the rugged terrain with teams on the ground, dogs, helicopters and drones with thermal imagery.

Her brother-in-law Sam Hazelton told the New Zealand Herald the family were "hoping upon hope" she will be found.

"This was something Stephanie would do most weekends, it was her main reason for staying in Wanaka in New Zealand as it offered so many different trails".

"She is relatively experienced in outdoor activities and has already completed a number of hikes. She is such a fun-loving, kind, determined and adventurous woman, we are asking anyone who might know anything to please get in touch with police".

It is believed she headed out to Mt Aspiring National Park after work on Friday and was expected to return on Sunday.

Relatives who traveled to New Zealand from the United Kingdom confirmed that the body was Simpson's, according to the report.

She was reported missing nearly a week ago, on Monday.

Last year, 600,000 global visitors went hiking in New Zealand, a 34% rise on 2014.

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