"A young British kayaker who drowned in a swollen West Coast river may
have shared her equipment with her companions who earlier lost some of
their gear to thieves.
The 19-year-old will not be named until Greymouth police and Interpol
track her family in Britain.
She drowned in the Crooked River, south of Greymouth, on Monday evening,
despite the efforts of the men kayaking with her.
The men, one British and one Swedish, had been travelling and kayaking
in the South Island together and were last week camping at Lake
Mahinapua, south of Hokitika.
As they slept some of their kayaking equipment, which had been left
outside their tent, was stolen.
They reported the theft to police, but told locals the loss was enough
to make them consider leaving New Zealand because they did not know if
they could kayak any more.
However, they continued north and met a 19-year-old British woman who
was also a keen and experienced kayaker.
Other travellers staying in Greymouth who talked to the men thought the
woman had offered to share some of her gear to enable them to continue
their water adventures.
On Monday the trio walked three hours into the bush just south of
Greymouth, before starting a kayak trip to Lake Brunner on the Crooked
River. But the journey ended in tragedy when the woman and the Swedish
man were swept away.
The man was able to get to the river's edge before trying to find the
woman. But she had been trapped underwater by a rock.
The British man ran two hours along the river's edge to a Rotomanu
farmhouse to call for help and searchers scoured the river for the
The man had stayed near where he last saw the woman, to ensure searchers
would look for her in the right place, and he was found just before 3am
Last night the men were at the Greymouth police station giving their
statements to police. The Swedish man had mild hypothermia and both were
extremely distraught, Senior Sergeant Cliff Paxton said.
Interpol had been called to help track the woman's family in Britain
before her name could be released."