Police have confirmed a second body has been found by the search party in the hunt for two missing Canadian tourists in the South Island.

The discovery follows the location of the body of a male in a field of avalanche debris late yesterday.

The bodies were found about 350m below the Kepler Track, which Louis-Vincent Lessard and Etienne Lemieux, the two 23-year-old Canadians, had signalled they intended to walk.

Sergeant Ian Martin, of Te Anau police, said the body was found in a similar location to the first, which was located during an aerial search in an area between the Hanging Valley Hut and the Iris Burn Hut in Fiordland National Park.


A police spokesman said both bodies had arrived in Te Anau and would go now through a formal identification process.

He said especially with the families of the two missing men still in Canada, there was not much police could say until they had decided on what form of identification they would take.

"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 said police would also need to liaise with officials in Canada in order to complete the identification.

Mr Lemieux and Mr Lessard's families in Canada had been advised of the second discovery.

Police will continue to liaise with the Canadian High Commission in New Zealand and authorities in Montreal.

A photo of the students on Facebook.
A photo of the students on Facebook.

Acting Senior Sergeant Ian Temple told Radio New Zealand that weather was "not the best" for searching in alpine conditions.

Temple stressed that the identity of the body found yesterday was yet to be confirmed, but said he was unaware of any other people reported missing in the area.


Some family of at least one of the young men were expected to come to New Zealand, Mr Temple said.

The pair travelled to Te Anau from Queenstown on an Intercity bus on July 7, arriving about 9.45am.

Family members reported them overdue on Saturday after they missed travel connections out of New Zealand.

Mr Lemieux's sister Véronique told Presse Canadienne that her brother and his friend were supposed to return to Quebec on Friday morning local time.

Authorities were alerted by relatives of the pair, as soon as they were found to not have boarded their flight home.

Lessard's co-worker Dominic Denault Pilon, who works at Montreal outdoor gear shop Le Boutique Yeti, said the man had purchased some mountaineering equipment ahead of his trip, CBC reported.

Dominic Denault Pilon said Lessard had purchased some mountaineering equipment ahead of his trip. Photo / Supplied
Dominic Denault Pilon said Lessard had purchased some mountaineering equipment ahead of his trip. Photo / Supplied

Many photos on Lessard's Facebook page show him mountain biking, snowboarding and doing other outdoor activities.

"He was really, really nice. Really adventurous, really intelligent. He was actually somebody who enjoyed doing outdoor activities - skiing, hiking, cycling," Mr Pilon said.

Montreal outdoor gear shop Le Boutique Yeti.
Montreal outdoor gear shop Le Boutique Yeti.

Another co-worker, Hugo Brunet, said Lessard truly loved the outdoors.

Mr Pilon said 20 days without a word from the trampers does not make him hopeful.

Search and rescue squads and the Queenstown police CIB were both involved in the search.

The body spotted yesterday was 350m below the Kepler Track. Photo / File
The body spotted yesterday was 350m below the Kepler Track. Photo / File

According to a Facebook page set up to raise awareness of the missing tourists, they were industrial design students at Montreal University. A photo on the page, said to be one of the last taken of the pair, showed Lessard and Lemieux on July 6 in Queenstown eating a burger from the resort town's famous Fergburger burger bar.

This afternoon Anne-Marie Bisson wrote on her Facebook page that she was personally shocked by the news that two bodies had been found, and said she was hurting for her sister-in-law. It is her brother-in-law and his friend that are missing.

"There is no confirmation of identity but we are not under any illusions. Please pray and think of the family of Etienne and Louis-Vincent. They will need all of your support."

Meanwhile, Martine Clouette said Lemieux was the friend of her son and their best soccer goalkeeper. She prayed for the men's safe return.

Vanessa Rouillard-Philippe posted on the page and also said her prayers were with the missing men.

Monique Lessard thanked people for their encouragement and asked everyone to share the information and pictures in large numbers.

Mr Lemieux and Mr Lessard were last seen in Queenstown on July 7.

CBC reported the pair stayed the night of July 6 at Queenstown's Base Backpackers.

A photo shared on the Facebook page showed them on the evening of July 6.

- Additional reporting by Tracey Lindeman of CBC.