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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 15 April 2021

New Zealand glacier body identified after 42 years

Surviving family members have issued an statement expressing gratitude to the police.

Tasman Glacier from the sky
Tasman Glacier from the sky
Image: Shutterstock/Thomas Nord

A NEW ZEALAND hiker’s body that lay frozen in a glacier for more than four decades has been formally identified, police said Thursday.

David Erik Moen, 19, was caught in an avalanche in September 1973 on the South Island’s remote Tasman glacier, they said, after searchers at the time failed to locate his body.

Human remains were found in the area in January this year and taken for DNA testing.

Police said the tests showed the body, which media reports described as “well preserved” when discovered after almost 42 years in the frozen wilderness, was Moen.

His parents have both reportedly died, the father just months before the remains were found, but surviving family members issued a statement expressing gratitude to the police.

“We cannot put into words what it feels like to have David returned to us after all this time but we are taken back to when he first went missing back in 1973,” it said.

“David’s spirit still remains in the beautiful, peaceful environment which claimed the life of a wonderful and dearly loved young man in the prime of his life.”

Police said work was under way to identify another set of human remains found at the nearby Hochstetter glacier in March but cautioned “it may take some time”.

Andrew Hobman, an avalanche and alpine safety expert with Mountain Safety Council, said people who perished in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park commonly showed up at the foot of the glacier.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Woman lost in New Zealand wilderness survives by drinking her own breast milk

Also: The Prime Minister of New Zealand had to apologise for pulling a waitress’s ponytail

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