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

Clay Curtis
February 15, 2020

Stephanie Simpson, 32, informed pals on Friday she was going hiking over the weekend break at Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island had actually not been seen because Saturday early morning.

It comes after search groups zeroed in on the location after discovering her knapsack as well as hiking boots earlier in the day.

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

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

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

Kirkwood did not indicate there was anything suspicious about the death, which he said would be referred to a coroner.

In a statement, Sergeant Kirkwood said that police extended their condolences to Ms Simpson's family "at this tragic time".

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

She had told friends of weekend plans to attempt the challenging four-hour hike to Brewster Hut and then move on to Blue Pools.

Land Search and Rescue staff, two dog teams, Alpine Cliff Rescue staff from Fox Glacier and a canyon search and rescue team from Wanaka are helping with the search on Friday.

Simpson's brother-in-law, Sam Hazelton, told the New Zealand Herald the worst thing was not knowing what had happened.

"She's someone that's done triathlons, running races, marathons, she's really sporty and picks up new skills quickly", he said. "That's what she's there for, just to make the most of that free time", Mr Hazelton said.

Passionate about trekking, she had hiked for many years in the UK, Australia, and recently, New Zealand.

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

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