Second body found in search for trampers


Police confirmed yesterday a second body had been found during the search for two missing Canadian trampers.

Louis-Vincent Lessard and his friend Etienne Lemieux were last seen on July 7 travelling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau.

One body was found on Sunday afternoon and the second shortly after lunchtime yesterday.

Search and Rescue staff found the bodies in avalanche debris near the Kepler Track.

Police are yet to formally identify the bodies.

Yesterday social media sites were active with messages of support and sadness for the family.

One Facebook message simply read, “Absolutely heart-breaking”.

A Facebook page was set up after the pair went missing, saying they had left Canada for an outdoor adventure trip.

Both aged 23, they were studying industrial design at the University of Montreal.

Senior sergeant Brian Benn, of Southern District Command Centre, says the families of the missing men had been told, but updating them had been difficult due to the time difference and location.

Police could not confirm if the families of the deceased were on their way to New Zealand.

“Police are continuing to work with the immediate family in Canada through the Canadian police and the Canadian Embassy to assist in the recovery of Louis-Vincent Lessard and Etienne Lemieux.”

Members of the search and rescue groups involved in the operation, as well as members of the public, were thanked for their assistance.

The pair had been due home in Canada on July 24 and the alarm was raised by concerned family members when they did not arrive.

The search started on Sunday, with an aerial operation, as well as search and rescue personnel searching huts and checking logbooks along the popular tramping track.

The teams also used probes along certain parts of the tracks.