Published: Fri, February 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Body of missing hiker Stephanie Simpson found

Body of missing hiker Stephanie Simpson found

A missing British backpacker has been found dead after she disappeared while out hiking in New Zealand.

Searchers have found the body of British hiker Stephanie Simpson nearly a week after she went hiking in a New Zealand national park.

A helicopter went to search for her after she was reported missing on Monday, when she didn't turn up for work in Wānaka.

Mr Kirkwood says Ms Simpson's family arrived at the search area today and were there when her body was recovered.

Police earlier on Friday had narrowed the search to the Pyke Creek area and were using two dog teams as well as cliff and canyon rescue teams.

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

Ms Simpson, 32, from Essex, had told friends she planned to go hiking in the national park at the weekend.

He said the family were "understandably grieving" and asked for privacy.

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Police thanked everyone involved in the search since it began on Monday.

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

The death would be referred to the Coroner.

"Searchers have located items of interest which has informed the decision to narrow the search to this area", a police spokeswoman said.

He described Ms Simpson as an "extremely determined and strong-willed person".

Police earlier said they wanted to hear from anyone who stayed in the Cameron Flat area on Friday, February 7 and saw or spoke to Ms Simpson, or anyone who may have seen her on the track from Fantail Falls to Mt Armstrong, or in Makarora Valley.

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

A missing poster at Mount Aspiring National Park.

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