Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

Body of missing British tramper Stephanie Simpson found

Stephanie Simpson was last seen on FridayMore Stephanie Simpson was last seen on FridayMore
Deanna Wagner | 15 February, 2020, 06:26

Searchers located missing hiker Stephanie Simpson's body this afternoon.

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood said search and rescue teams found Simpson's body on Friday about 1.40pm in the Pyke Creek area, described as "extremely challenging" terrain in the Southern Alps.

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

"The family are understandably grieving and they have asked media to respect their request for privacy during this hard time", he said.

Simpson, from Essex, was reported missing around 8.45am on Monday when she failed to keep an appointment.

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

"Police extend their condolences to Stephanie's family at this tragic time".

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

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British woman Stephanie Simpson is overdue from a hike and hasn't been seen since Friday.

After she was reported missing her brother-in-law Sam Hazelton told the New Zealand Herald she was an experienced hiker and very fit, having competed in triathlons and marathons.

The 32-year-old was hiking to the Blue Pools, near Makaroa, when she didn't return as expected last Saturday.

They had been scouring the area using thermal-imaging drones, helicopters, search and rescue teams on the ground and dogs.

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

Ms Simpson's family last heard from her on Thursday morning when she said she planned to go hiking at the weekend on a WhatsApp group.

"It was a normal weekend tramp. I feel robbed of the many years of friendship.at the same time I feel overly blessed to have had the time with her that I did".

Mount Aspiring National Park on New Zealand's South Island is known for its rugged remoteness, its mountains and its striking river valleys.