Police "confident'' body is that of Penryn man Andrew Wyatt
Police in New Zealand say they are “confident’’ a body found at the bottom of a 100 metre cliff is that of missing Penryn man Andrew Wyatt.
His father Donald Wyatt said local police had told him the distressing news.
Mr Wyatt, 41, was last seen on December 15 when he set off on what was to be a one-day hike along part of the Te Araroa Trail, which covers 1,860 miles from Cape Reinga, in the north of North Island, to Bluff, at the southern end of South Island.
Search co-ordinator Constable Dave Cogger said Mr Wyatt had an "unsurvivable" fall from Lake Constance Bluff.
“Police say they are confident the body recovered from Nelson Lakes National Park on Friday afternoon is that of missing British man Andrew Ian Wyatt,’’ a New Zealand police spokesman said.
"Police are now trying to arrange a formal identification of the body. Mr Wyatt's family in Britain have been advised.’’
The news is a second tragedy for his family. In 2010, Mr Wyatt’s brother, Duncan, took his own life just days before Christmas.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Wyatt’s father Donald, said he had been visited by local police.
“They’ve come and told me he’s gone, so I’m assuming that it is him, he’d be carrying his passport and all his credentials,’’ said his father.
“I don’t know what happened, how he fell. It was wet, rainy and slippery underfoot. We don’t know the facts as yet.’’
Donald Wyatt said his son was an experienced traveller, who spent weeks planning his trips.
“A few years ago he cycled down the east coast of Australia - it took him nearly five months. Two years ago he did the North Island (of New Zealand) and half of the south, all in one go. So he’d been on the route before.’’
Andrew Wyatt obtained an honours degree in radiology at Sheffield Hallam University, as well as other degrees.
His father said: “I’m very proud of him, he worked and worked, and never stopped studying. He’s a lovely lad.’’
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London said it was aware of the death of a British national in New Zealand and was providing consular assistance to the family.
Bad weather had delayed the search, but later four specialist alpine rescue crews, plus a dog team and a communications team, were dropped in by air force helicopter.
PC Dave Cogger, the search co-ordinator, told the New Zealand Herald that he had been in daily contact with Mr Wyatt’s parents, who he said were extremely concerned for their son’s welfare.