New Zealand Police: Body of Israeli hiker found

35-year-old Liat Okin from Netiv Ha'asara went missing while hiking in New Zealand in late March.

hiker Liat Okin 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
hiker Liat Okin 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
New Zealand police said Friday that they had found a body believed to be that of Israeli tourist Liat Okin, 35, from Netiv Ha'asara. Okin went missing while hiking in late March. Inspector Andrew Burns said a police search team found the body near the South Island's popular Routeburn Track. Police flew into the area after a private search team, funded by the family of Okin, found a backpack and shoes belonging to the missing woman Thursday. "Police are currently in the process of recovering the body, which will be transported to (the southern city of) Dunedin for post mortem and formal identification," Burns said. "Liat's family ave been advised of the discovery of the body," he said, adding it was located in a "very, very rugged terrain area" well off the trail. Okin, 35, was last seen on March 26 at a hikers' shelter hut on the trail that runs through Mount Aspiring and Fiordland national parks. The police search, failing to find any trace of her, was called off April 22. A private search coordinated by her brother, Itamar Tas, was launched two days later. Catherine Lanuel, wife of Israel's Shai Lanuel, a member of the private team, said the site where the items belonging to Okin were found was "basically off the beaten trail." She did not elaborate.