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Coast remains belong to missing tourist

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/10/2016

Police have revealed a thigh bone found by a hunter on the West Coast belonged to missing Canadian tourist Connor Hayes who, along with girlfriend Joanna Lam, was swept off the road by a rockfall near Haast in 2013.

The bone was found by the hunter near the confluence of the Haast and Burke Rivers in August, says West Coast area commander, Inspector Mel Aitken.

"DNA analysis confirms this being part-remains of Mr Hayes," she said on Wednesday.

Searchers returned to the Haast River on Sunday and recovered a number of items, but Insp Aitken said they haven't yet been confirmed as belonging 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," she said.

Mr Hayes, 25, and Ms Lam, 24, had been travelling on State Highway 6 in Septemeber 2013 when their campervan was hit by the rockfall during a large storm.

The wheels and chassis were found wrapped around a large rock in the Haast River while the fuel tank washed up on a beach 7km north of the river mouth.

Ms Lam's body was found on a beach about 10 days after the rockfall but until August there had been no sign of Mr Hayes.

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