Stephanie Simpson: Body Found In Search For British Backpacker Missing In New Zealand

Stephanie Simpson (Photo: Facebook )

A body has been found in the search for a British backpacker who went missing in the South Island of New Zealand after an intense flood in the area.

Stephanie Simpson, 32, had not been seen since she went for a hike last weekend at the Mount Aspiring National Park, home to one of New Zealand’s highest peaks.

Police started looking for Simpson, from Essex, after she failed to keep an appointment on Monday and was reported missing.

Searchers had earlier found items thought to belong to Simpson in the Pyke Creek area, including a back pack and a pair of boots.

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood of West Coast Search and Rescue said police extended their condolences to Simpson’s family “at this tragic time”. The death will be referred to the coroner.

Drones with thermal imaging were deployed in the area along with search and rescue teams on the ground and a helicopter. 

Flash floods and incessant torrential rains hit New Zealand’s South Island last week, leaving several hundred tourists stranded for days and forcing many residents to evacuate their homes.

It was not clear if Simpson’s hike at the Mount Aspiring National Park was affected by the rains.

Thousands of hikers visit New Zealand each year to explore its mountains and wildlife.

In 2016, a Czech women spent nearly a month alone in a warden’s hut on a remote hiking trail on South Island after her partner was killed in a fall.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.