'Unsurvivable' fall a double blow for family
Police say they are confident the body found yesterday near Lake Constance Bluff is that of a missing British tramper, and that no one could have survived the fall down the cliff.
Andrew Ian Wyatt's parents were last night coming to terms with news searchers had found the body of their "outgoing" son.
The body was found by searchers at the bottom of a 100-metre cliff below Lake Constance Bluff, which police say was on Wyatt's intended route between Blue Lake Hut and Waiau Pass in the Nelson Lakes.
Search Coordinator Constable Dave Cogger said police were now trying to arrange a formal identification of the body.
Last night Wyatt's father Donald Wyatt spoke from his Penryn home, in Cornwall, England, saying he and his wife Lorna had been notified by New Zealand police that "they had found him".
"We've lost him," he said.
Tragically the couple also lost another son, Duncan, on December 16 three years ago. It was understood Andrew and his brother were their only children.
Wyatt, 41, was last seen by another tramper on December 15, when he left the Blue Lake Hut about 6am. He was expected to pick up a food package at Boyle Village in Lewis Pass on December 16, but never turned up.
Donald Wyatt said his son was "very outgoing" and active.
He had also recently completed his Master of Science and had a Bachelor of Science in Radiography, with Honours.
"It's just a bloody shame," Donald Wyatt said.
He was too upset to talk further about his son.
Wyatt arrived in New Zealand on November 21 for a second attempt at walking part of the Te Araroa Trail, which links tramping routes from Cape Reinga to Bluff. He had attempted to walk the trail last year.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois helicopter joined the search for Wyatt before the body was found yesterday, and was being used to ferry searchers into the area.
Bad weather prevented searchers getting to the area before yesterday, but four ground teams, one dog team and a communications team had been flown in yesterday morning, police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said.
Nelson search and rescue volunteer group training officer Sherp Tucker said anyone tramping alone should take "added precautions".
He particularly stressed the importance of carrying an emergency beacon and filling in hut books.