A Czech tourist has been found sheltering in an alpine hut, almost a month after her hiking partner fell to his death down a steep slope in a New Zealand national park, police said Thursday.
The woman was found on Wednesday by police and search and rescue personnel who began searching the area by helicopter after the pair were reported missing earlier the same day.
Inspector Olaf Jensen, Otago Lakes central area commander, said the woman was in good health when found, although understandably upset.
The pair began hiking the 32-kilometre Routeburn Track in the South Island on July 24, but the woman’s partner fell down a steep slope on July 28, and is believed to have died soon after.
The woman then made her way to a Department of Conservation hut, where she had been sheltering since early August.
Jensen said it was highly unusual for someone to be missing in the New Zealand bush for such a long period without it being reported.
Police and search and rescue personnel hoped to return to the area on Thursday if weather permitted to try to find the body of the dead hiker.
The Routeburn Track is popular with hikers during the summer, but it is recommended that only the very experienced attempt the track in winter, when it is subject to frequent avalanches.