Second body found in search for missing Canadian tourists

A second body has been found in avalanche debris in the search for two missing Canadian travelers in South Island.

The first body was found in a field of avalanche at the Fiordland National Park yesterday. Rescue teams needed to wait for the weather to clear until they returned to the site this morning, when they found the second body.

The second body was reportedly buried close to the first.

It is believed that the two travellers are missing best friends Louis-Vincent Lessard and Etienne Lemieux, both 23 years old. According to reports, they arrived in New Zealand on July 7 and were supposed to return to Quebec, Canada last Friday.

Lessard and Lemieux had reportedly told their families back home that they planned to hike along the Kepler Track.

Heavy snow has been happening in Fiordland in the past weeks, but this weekend’s temperatures have melted a lot of snow.

“He was someone who really enjoyed doing outdoor activities – skiing, hiking, cycling,” said Dominic Denault Pilon, a co-worker of Lessard.

According to a police spokesman, the two bodies are now in Te Anau and would undergo a formal identification process. 

No official statement has been made if the two bodies found are, indeed, the two Canadian best friends, but Acting Senior Sergeant said that there are no other people reported missing in the area.

“There’s multiple ways. There’s finger printing, dental, DNA, visual – so we just need to work out which way is going to be the easiest and quickest way to do an identification and then we’ll take that route,” the spokesman explains, adding that police will need to liaise with Canadian officials to complete the identification.

New Zealand officials are advising all hikers to take extra care on the track from May to October due to harsh weather conditions.