NZealand teams search for United Kingdom hiker in national park

Body of UK woman missing in New Zealand found

Body of UK woman missing in New Zealand found

The body of British hiker Stephanie Simpson has been found by a search party in New Zealand nearly a week after she disappeared in a national park.

She had told friends she had planned to go hiking in Mount Aspiring National Park at the weekend.

Police on Friday said in a statement they had narrowed the search to the Pyke Creek area, which consists of "extremely challenging" terrain.

Ms Simpson was an experienced hiker.

According to her Facebook account, she had been living in the Wanaka area since November and was working as a landscaper. Two dog teams and 16 searchers scoured part of Mt Aspiring National park.

Earlier, they had found "items of interest" in the area which were thought to belong to Ms Simpson, including a pack and a pair of boots.

Video footage shot on Tuesday showed helicopters searching for Simpson over the mountainous areas of the national park.

Brother-in-law Sam Hazelton told the New Zealand Herald that Simpson's family in the United Kingdom were holding out hope she would be found alive.

Mr Hazelton said: "You can't imagine, it's pretty very bad". "We have no idea why she went into the water".

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"She's an extremely determined, strong-willed person", Hazelton said.

"She's someone that's done triathlons, running races, marathons, she's really sporty and picks up new skills quickly", he said.

According to the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, 57 hikers died in the 10 years to June 2017, with global tourists making up close to half.

Police extended their condolences to her family at this tragic time, he said.

Mr Hazelton said: "It was a normal weekend tramp".

The search for Simpson has entered a fourth day.

This story was first published on the New Zealand Herald and republished with permission.

One, who wished to remain anonymous, thanked those who found her and said she was "a bright light amongst many and will be sadly missed [by] those who knew her".

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