Quebecers missing in New Zealand: Two bodies found

kepler-track-demeure-ouverte-finThe worst scenario seemed to confirm late last night, when the New Zealand authorities have announced the discovery of a second body in the debris of an avalanche near the Kepler Track, this hike that Quebecers Stephen Lemieux Louis-Vincent Lessard had planned for July 7.

“Both bodies were taken in the city of Te Anau, where they will be formally identified,” police said in New Zealand. “Families of Louis Vincent and Stephen were informed of the latest developments.”

Early yesterday, the search and rescue teams had announced to have found a first body in avalanche debris, about 350 meters from the Kepler Track, on the flank of Mount Luxmore, between shelters Hanging Iris Burn Valley. It is in the same area as the second body was spotted.

The identity of the two victims has not been confirmed. “But hiking is not very popular in winter. I do not think every person is ventured for a long time, “Grant told Tremain however, the conservation coordinator at the Department of Conservation of New Zealand, which manages the park.

A busy day

In the entourage of the two young men, yesterday was long, painful and sad. “We will stop getting false hopes. This is not a story that ends well “, dropped Maxime Roy-Durand, a friend of Louis-Vincent Lessard from the 1st grade. “I try to be angry against something …” he added, as if trying to make sense of events.

As Maxime Roy-Durand, Phil Vincent described his friend as a jovial man. “He was a neighborhood neighbor who became a best friend,” said one who knew him especially the hiker during his childhood in Shefford in the Eastern Townships Eastern Townships. “I saw him as a brother, almost.”

The boutique Le Yeti, Montreal, Louis-Vincent Lessard was scheduled Saturday. He then had to find employment counselor in the ski section and bike he held for a little over a year.

But things happened otherwise. “Employees are advised that if they do not feel well, they can go home,” said the manager of the outdoor store, Denault Dominic Pilon. “Louis-Vincent, it was a tripeux skiing, mountain biking, outdoor. He ate, “he added.

In his hometown, the young man liked to climb Mt Shefford, high road to foot skis. “It really was not the first time he made it [off-road],” testified his friend Maxime Roy-Durand. “He had already made a ski trip in the French Alps. But it was not the same level, “he assessed.

Friends and family of Stephen Lemieux remained more discreet, and asked the media to live in peace this difficult period.

Last sign of life

Stephen Vincent Lemieux and Louis Lessard, both industrial design students at the University of Montreal have been heard from for the last time on 6 July. They spent the night in a hostel in Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. They met for Canadian women.

The young men made ​​an appointment for their new friends on their return from their hike on the Kepler Track, said the father of one of them in La Presse. “But they have never presented,” he added.

The two friends had planned to start their hike on July 7 and complete the trip in three days.

But an avalanche would have surprised them as they descended Mount Luxmore, which rises to 1,500 meters. The avalanche monitoring center in the Fiordland National Park is closed in winter, because this season is the low season.

Now the Kepler Track remains open from late April to late October, and avalanches are frequent. The tags of the tracks are often covered with snow and bridges to cross streams are withdrawn.

Deadly avalanches

Yesterday, friends expressed concerns about the equipment that the two young men had carried. But without the proper equipment, it is very difficult to survive an avalanche, said the CEO of Avalanche Quebec Dominic Boucher.

“When a person is caught, the statistics show that the chances of finding her alive diminish after five to ten minutes,” he said. “Beyond 15 minutes, there is an even chance that the person is dead.”

Once under the snow, the risk of intoxication is high. “When you breathe in an air pocket under the snow, the heat of the expiry icing fact that air pocket. It becomes a closed environment, and it’s like breathing in a plastic bag, “illustrated Dominic Boucher. “There is more air exchange with the rest of the snowbank, and the presence of carbon dioxide increases. The person loses consciousness. ”

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