Police in New Zealand said they have discovered what they believed to be a missing British tourist’s body – eight years after the helicopter she was travelling in disappeared.
Hannah Timings, 28, and Kiwi pilot Campbell Montgomerie, 27, died in a remote area of the country after they crash landed in 2004, but the wreckage was never found.
However, following an eight-year search, a helicopter pilot finally discovered the aircraft in Fiordland, a remote part of the country on the South Island.
Hannah, who was a London-based project manager for Viscount Linley’s furniture business, from Cheltenham, Glos., vanished while on a six month backpacking tour of New Zealand in January 2004.
She was travelling with pilot boyfriend Campbell on a scenic trip from the alpine resort of Queenstown to the renound beauty spot of Milford Sound.
But their helicopter lost contact with air traffic controllers while flying over the mountainous bush-covered terrain.
Despite an extensive two week search no sign of the missing Hughes 500 helicopter was ever found.
However on Wednesday police in New Zealand confirmed that the wreckage, spotted by a tourist helicopter at the edge of the original search area, was that of the missing Hughes 500.
A specialist police team, including alpine cliff rescue members, recovered two bodies which they hope to formally identify by using DNA samples.
Inspector Olaf Jensen, of Invercargill, New Zealand said: ”The helicopter’s wreckage is spread across a large area in rugged terrain.
“The weather in the area is good and the team is hoping to complete the scene examination.”
He added that Hannah’s family had been told and officers hoped the discovery would bring them some closure.
Pilot Brendan Hiatt, from Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters, said he was on the way back to Queenstown after picking up two American couples, when he spotted something below.
He said: “I just spotted something glinting that just didn’t look quite right amongst the snow, so I said ‘we’ll just take a look’.
“It’s happened before, where you see a glinting rock or something that you go in closer for a look at. We got close and it was pretty evident what it was.”
In 2006 Hannah’s family, who described her as “an absolutely lovely and loving girl” who adored adventure and the outdoor life, won a battle for a #10,000 life insurance policy payout from Columbus.
Hannah’s father Phil said the money had been divided between her brother Sam and sister Layla.