Police in New Zealand say they have found the body of British backpacker Stephanie Simpson, who has been missing since last week.
Stephanie told friends she was going hiking alone in Mount Aspiring National Park on the country's South Island last Saturday, but failed to return. The alarm was raised when she didn't turn up for work at her job as a landscape gardener on Monday. Search teams discovered her body around 1:40pm New Zealand time on Friday.
The 32-year-old, who was originally from Essex, had moved to the town of Wanaka after travelling in Australia.
Helicopter and ground searches failed to find Stephanie, but police say her body was located after her boots and backpack were spotted in aerial images.
Sergeant Mark Kirkwood told the BBC that Stephanie's death seemed to be a tragic accident. He said Stephanie appeared to have left the hiking track, taken off her boots and gone into a waterfall. Her body was found in a canyon in the Pyke Creek area, with her boots discovered 900m upstream and her backpack was closer to her body.
"It's a very hazardous area. We have no idea why she went into the water," Sergeant Kirkwood said.
A friend told the New Zealand Herald that Stephanie was fit, capable, and accustomed to outdoor sports. "She's a really beautiful, kind-hearted person. She can make friends in an instant, she's awesome," the friend said.
Stephanie's family had flown from the UK to New Zealand to join the search and she was identified by her mother.
"Police extend their condolences to Stephanie's family at this tragic time," said Sergeant Kirkwood.
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