Body of climber missing for 42 years on New Zealand's highest peak is finally identified

David Erik Moen disappeared in 1973 while scaling the Tasman glacier

Victoria Richards
Thursday 21 May 2015 11:31

The body of a man who went missing while climbing a glacier on New Zealand's highest peak has finally been identified – 42 years after he disappeared.

David Erik Moen was just 19 when he was caught in an avalanche in September 1973 on the Tasman glacier, a remote peak in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, on the country's south island.

The body of the friend he was with at the time was found, alongside Mr Moen's bag - but his remains, which were reportedly "well-preserved", were not found until January this year by two climbers in the area.

They were taken for DNA testing - and police have now announced that it was indeed Mr Moen.

He was found in the frozen wilderness, just a few weeks after his father, Erik Moen, 92, died at a rest home in Alexandra. Mr Moen's mother died the year before.

Mr Moen's relatives said they were grateful to police but said that they "couldn't put into words what it feels like to have David returned to us after all this time".

"We are taken back to when he first went missing back in 1973," the BBC reported.

"David's spirit still remains in the beautiful, peaceful environment which claimed the life of a wonderful and dearly loved young man in the prime of his life."

Officers said that another set of human remains - found at the Hochsetter glacier, near to Tasman, in March - were being tested but that identification "may take some time".

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