Searchers Find Body After South Island Avalanche

Publish Date
Monday, 27 July 2015, 7:18AM
Searchers looking for two young French Canadians missing in the South Island spotted a body in a field of avalanche debris late yesterday.

The body, of a male, was located during an aerial search in an area between the Hanging Valley Hut and the Iris Burn Hut in Fiordland National Park about 4pm.

The identity of the male had not been confirmed late last night.

The body was found about 350m below the Kepler Track, which Louis-Vincent Lessard and Etienne Lemieux, the two 23-year-old Canadians, had signalled they intended to walk.

The police said late last night that they had told the families of the two men of the discovery.

The pair travelled to Te Anau from Queenstown on an Intercity bus on July 7, arriving about 9.45am.

Family members reported them overdue on Saturday after they missed travel connections out of New Zealand.

Lessard's co-worker Dominic Denault Pilon, who works at Montreal outdoor gear shop Le Boutique Yeti, said the man had purchased some mountaineering equipment ahead of his trip, CBCreported.

Mr Pilon said 20 days without a word from the trampers does not make him hopeful.

Search and rescue squads and the Queenstown police CIB were both involved in the search.

According to a Facebook page set up to raise awareness of the missing tourists, they were industrial design students at Montreal University. A photo on the page, said to be one of the last taken of the pair, showed Lessard and Lemieux on July 6 in Queenstown eating a burger from the resort town's famous Fergburger burger bar.

Anne-Marie Bisson posted on her own Facebook page that it was her brother-in-law and his friend who were missing. She encouraged people to share pictures of the men with locals in the area.

Meanwhile, Martine Clouette said Lemieux was the friend of her son and their best soccer goalkeeper. She prayed for the men's safe return.

Vanessa Rouillard-Philippe posted on the page and also said her prayers were with the missing men.

Monique Lessard thanked people for their encouragement and asked everyone to share the information and pictures in large numbers.

Source- NZ Herald