Development in search for missing tourist

Development in search for missing tourist


Please attribute to West Coast Area Commander, Inspector Mel Aitken:

In September 2013, a campervan and its occupants were swept off State Highway 6 near Haast Pass by a large slip.

Two Canadian nationals, Joanna Lam and Connor Hayes, were killed as a result.

Joanna Lam’s body was located in a subsequent search but Connor Hayes’ body was never found.

In August 2016, a hunter located a human thigh bone at the confluence of the Haast and Burke Rivers. Subsequent DNA analysis confirms this being part-remains of Mr Hayes.

On Sunday 16 October 2016, a further search was completed on the Haast River.

This involved volunteers from Haast along with New Zealand Police and LandSAR members from Wanaka and the West Coast.

The search recovered a number of items of interest from the riverbed but Police are yet to confirm whether they belong to Mr Hayes. 

Anything, including bones, which is believed to belong to Mr Hayes, will be released to his family in Canada in due course.

Police would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts in searching for the remains of Mr Hayes, in the hope of providing some closure to his family back home.


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