'Unsurvivable' fall a double blow for family

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 10:18 28/12/2013
Andrew Ian Wyatt
Supplied by NZ police

BODY FOUND: Andrew Wyatt was heading to Arthurs Pass.

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The parents of missing British tramper Andrew Ian Wyatt were last night coming to terms with news searchers had found the body of their "outgoing" son.

A 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 Wyatt had an unsurvivable fall from Lake Constance Bluff.

It is yet to be formally identified as the 41-year-old, but last night Wyatt's father Donald Wyatt told The Press from his Penryn home, in Cornwall, England, 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 is understood Andrew and his brother were their only children.

Andrew Wyatt 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.

Andrew 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.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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