Stephanie Simpson: body of missing British hiker found in New Zealand

Nellie Chapman
February 14, 2020

The body of a British hiker who went missing in New Zealand has been found, police have said.

Police are searching for British tramper Stephanie Simpson after she failed to return from a hike in Mt Aspiring National Park.

It comes after search teams zeroed in on the area after finding her backpack and hiking boots earlier in the day.

Police announced today the search had been narrowed to the Pyke Creek area, which consisted of "extremely challenging terrain".

"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.

Mount Aspiring National Park, in New Zealand's Southern Alps region, is described as a "dreamland of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes".

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood says they pulled out technology they don't usually use to help the search, including the RECCO device that can help track some brands of hiking clothes mostly made in Europe.

He said in a statement that police extended their condolences to Ms Simpson's family "at this tragic time", and that the death will be referred to the coroner.

A helicopter had been used on Monday evening and inquiries helped them narrow down the search area.

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Earlier Stephanie's family had been described as being "at their wits' end" following her disappearance.

The grieving family had held out hope that Ms Simpson, an experienced hiker from Essex, would be found alive.

Mr Hazelton said that Ms Simpson was very fit.

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

Mr Hazelton wanted to thank everyone involved in the ongoing search.

"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".

The park on the country's South Island is described by the Department of Conservation as a "wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and lovely river valleys".

Thousands of hikers visit New Zealand each year to explore its mountains and wildlife.

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