A search is underway for Stephanie Simpson, a 32-year-old British woman who has gone missing while hiking in New Zealand.
Backpacker Stephanie, who is originally from Essex, moved to the town of Wanaka last year after travelling Australia.
On Saturday, she told friends she was going hiking alone in Mount Aspiring National Park on the country's South Island. The alarm was raised when she failed to turn up for work on Monday morning in her job as a landscape gardener at local firm, Doug The Gardener.
It has been reported that heavy flooding in the area has caused rivers to swell and walking routes to be closed. Two hikers were found dead in a river in the area on Friday, although the case is unrelated. During the worst of the weather last week, 200 hikers became stranded.
A local police officer said Stephanie was on a day hike to Mount Brewster Hut and had planned to walk up to a glacier about 2km north of the hut. It's thought that the walk should have taken four hours.
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.
We're hoping that Stephanie is found safe and well and our hearts go out to her family.
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