Condolences poured in on social media Wednesday to relatives of two young Quebec students died in an avalanche on a mountain hike in New Zealand.
The police of this country confirmed on Wednesday that the bodies found near a popular hiking trail are indeed those of Louis-Étienne Vincent Lessard and Lemieux, both aged 23 years.
The families of the two men issued a message on Facebook on Wednesday to thank the New Zealand Police, the Montreal Police Service and the team of search and rescue on the ground. “They would like to thank all those who sent messages of encouragement or useful information to advance the investigation” could be read on the Facebook site created after their disappearance.
“Both families are also extremely grateful for the way the research was conducted and would like to thank everyone involved, from near or far, in operations,” they add.
On the website of the police of New Zealand, the Lemieux family also wrote that she wanted to know that Stephen was “a remarkable young man who came to New Zealand to realize his dream.”
The two young men had arrived in Te Anau, at the beginning, to make a hike that normally lasts three to four days in the Fiordland National Park. But their relatives have reported them missing last Saturday, after waiting in vain for their planned return to Montreal.
Two bodies were subsequently discovered, Saturday and Sunday, amid debris swept along by an avalanche, about 350 meters from the runway that the two young men planned to borrow.
The New Zealand authorities remind walkers to redouble caution when traveling in this area between May and October, because of the conditions there – now it is winter in the southern hemisphere .
Louis Lessard and Stephen Vincent Lemieux were both students at the School of Design of the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Montreal.
“Stephen and Louis-Vincent were gifted and creative students, involved in many projects,” said the director of the School of Design, Fabienne Münch, in a statement on the institution’s page. “They were above all marked by an overflowing enthusiasm and good humor. The Design School, teachers and lecturers will remember their complicity and their endearing smile. ”
The families of the two young men also thanked fonts New Zealand and Montreal for their efforts to find the victims.
One of the colleagues of Louis Vincent Lessard in an outdoor goods store in Montreal has its side suggested to his colleagues to organize a race in memory of the two hikers. “Louis Vincent was preparing to run a marathon, it said in a message published by Stéfany Kanemy. We thought: why not do it and live your passion “?
Another employee of the store said that the idea is being realized, but the project is for friends and family members.