Published: Sat, February 15, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Searchers have located the body of missing hiker Stephanie Simpson - 14-Feb

Searchers have located the body of missing hiker Stephanie Simpson - 14-Feb

New Zealand search and rescue crews were continuing to search for a missing British hiker on Friday while her family remained desperate for any information.

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood of West Coast Search and Rescue said. said police extended their condolences to Ms Simpson's family "at this tragic time".

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

Sgt Mark Kirkwood, from West Coast search and rescue, said: "The family are understandably grieving and they have asked media to respect their request for privacy during this hard time".

"The search was extremely challenging at times, especially in consideration of the terrain", he said.

The 32-year-old was reported missing on Monday after she failed to return from a hike and did not arrive at work.

He said Stephanie's death would be referred to the coroner.

British tourist stephanie simpson found dead
The body of 32-year-old Stephanie Simpson from Essex has been found in the Mount Aspiring National Park in New Zealand

"It's a very hazardous area", the official said.

They had been scouring the area using thermal-imaging drones, helicopters, search and rescue teams on the ground and dogs. She had told friends she planned to hike to Brewster Hut and then move on to Blue Pools, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Sam Hazelton, her bro-in- regulation, claimed she had actually selected the area for its accessibility to hiking tracks, which she would certainly go hiking as well as outdoor camping most weekend breaks.

The last time the family heard from Simpson was when she messaged a family WhatsApp group on Thursday morning that she was going tramping for the weekend.

"The team said they're searching for somebody who's alive, but they also have asked a number of questions", Mr Hazelton said.

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.

The park on New Zealand's South Island is defined by the nation's Department of Conservation as a 'remarkable mix of remote wild, high hills as well as lovely river valleys.

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