Body found on glacier after 40 years

Human remains found next to a New Zealand glacier were likely those of a teenager who went missing in the area 42 years ago, a news report said Monday.

The body found at the foot of the Tasman Glacier in the Mount Cook national park on the South Island was likely to be that of a 19-year-old man missing since an avalanche on September 16, 1973, NZ Newswire reported.

It was spotted by independent guide Gavin Lang and another climber, it said.

He first saw some “meshy material” attached to an old tent peg and a glove and socks. “There was the body with leathery skin, and some boots nearby but I didn’t want to look inside them,” he was quoted as saying.

Low snowfall and warmer temperatures this year could explain the discovery, a report quoted Canterbury police rural area commander Inspector David Gaskin as saying.

The 19-year-old was climbing with another man aged 64 when the cornice they were walking on gave way beneath them, Shirley Slatter, a ranger with the Department of Conservation, said according to the report.

Rescuers found the body of the older man, and the bag of the missing teenager, during the initial search of the avalanche, which was more than 9 metres deep in places, she said.

The bodies of 62 climbers missing in the Mount Cook National Park since 1907 remain missing, most on the mountain itself, the report said.

As the glacier melts and shifts, remains left unlocated for decades surface occasionally.

Slatter told Stuff that the most recent find was in unusually good condition.

“To get whole remains to come out and that can be identified is really good – it’s great for the family,” she said.


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