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Body of 22-year-old tramper found

The search for the missing tramper had been hampered by bad weather.
The search for the missing tramper had been hampered by bad weather.

The body of a 22-year-old tramper who was swept away on the Milford Track has been found.

Police said the woman's body was found about 4.40pm today, about 1.8km south of where she was last seen in the Clinton River.

The Australian woman's family had arrived in the country and were being supported by police. They had asked for privacy.

Police and Land Search and Rescue teams using a Southern Lakes helicopter located the body this afternoon while searching during a break the weather.

The woman had been hiking with her partner and another tramper when she was caught in the Pompolona Creek about 3pm on Monday and was swept into the Clinton River.

Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley said earlier today the river had peaked at 2.2 metres and was still running at 1.8 metres because of the rain in the area.

The normal operational safe level of the Clinton River is 0.25 metres.

She said the group had been well-equipped, and it was responsible of them to carry an emergency beacon.

"I was thinking how bad it would have been for the whole party if they didn't have the beacon. They were all cold and all wet, so the beacon was great to alert services as soon as possible.

"But I don't know how experienced they were to deal with the conditions, with the creek crossings that they were doing and the amount of rainfall they had.

"It's glacier- and avalanche-fed creeks and rivers in there, so it's only a matter of hours before things can be totally impassable ... If you're not confident in crossing a river like that, the best option is to just stay put or head back for shelter. But they're young guys and they obviously thought they could make it. It's just a real tragedy, the way it's transpired."

Ms Fairley said the Department of Conservation removed some of the smaller bridges in the off-season due to the risk of avalanche damage.

She didn't know if they were trying to cross the river in a place where a bridge is usually in place for the high season.

"I know that they scoured the creek to find a safe route."

- APNZ

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