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Published on : Thursday, August 25, 2016
The young couple, who started their hike on July 26, weren’t reported missing until Wednesday, when a search and rescue team dispatched to find them discovered the woman living in a warden’s cabin at the Mackenzie huts.
Otago Lakes Central Area commander inspector Olaf Jensen said she told rescuers they had entered the track on July 24 and her partner fell down a steep slope four days later.
According to police the couple started the walk on 26 July and the man fell down a steep slope on 28 July. The woman said she climbed down the slope and reached him but he died shortly afterwards.
Since then, the woman said, she had been living in a warden’s hut that was left locked and unattended for the winter at Lake Mackenzie, about halfway along the 32km track.
New Zealand’s Otago Lakes Central Area Commander Inspector Olaf Jensen said that, this is a highly unusual case. It’s very unusual for someone to be missing in the New Zealand bush for such a long period without it being reported.
It wasn’t clear why it took so long for anyone to notice the couple were missing.
Police said the woman was in good health but shaken by these events and they would be speaking to her later on Thursday. The couple had been in New Zealand since January.