Crews 'confident' body is UK hiker
Published 28/12/2013 | 00:42
Mountain rescuers searching for a British hiker in New Zealand are "confident" the body they have recovered at the bottom of a 100-metre cliff is him.
Andrew Wyatt, 41, was last seen leaving a lodge in Nelson Lakes National Park near the city of Nelson in the country's South Island on December 15.
Mr Wyatt's body was found today by a search and rescue team below Lake Constance Bluff, which was part of his intended route between Blue Lake Hut and Waiau Pass in the Nelson Lakes.
Bad weather had prevented the expert alpine searchers from accessing the area before today, New Zealand police said.
Search co-ordinator Constable Dave Cogger said Mr Wyatt, from Penryn, Cornwall, had an "unsurvivable" fall from Lake Constance Bluff.
"Police say they are confident the body recovered from Nelson Lakes National Park on Friday afternoon is that of missing British man Andrew Ian Wyatt," a New Zealand police spokesman said.
"Police are now trying to arrange a formal identification of the body. Mr Wyatt's family in Britain have been advised.
"Police would like to acknowledge the efforts of search and rescue volunteers from Nelson, Golden Bay and Marlborough who worked alongside police officers during the operation."
Mr Wyatt arrived in New Zealand on November 21 with the intention of walking the Te Araroa Trail, a 1,860 mile tramping trail which links routes from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
On the day he went missing he left the Blue Lake Hut about 6am local time to walk to Waiau Pass and was due to collect a food package on December 16.
Mr Wyatt's family were coming to terms with the loss of their son, who had not been in contact with them since December 12.
His father, Donald told New Zealand newspaper The Press that he and his wife Lorna had been informed by the police that they had found his body.
"We've lost him," he told the newspaper. "It's just a bloody shame."
The couple also lost another son, Duncan, days before Christmas three years ago. A coroner later recorded a conclusion that he had taken his own life.