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Body of missing Aussie hiker apparently found: Officials



KATHMANDU: The body of a missing Australian hiker is believed to be uncovered from Nisha area of Sikles village at Parche VDC in Kaski district, officials said on Monday.

Police intensified investigation after unidentified human remains along with some personal items of Matthew Iain Allpress (23), including -- Rs 120 in cash, jacket, pocket diary and mobile phone -- were discovered in the hill. Matthew (Matt) has been missing in the Annapurna Region since November 3, 2013.

Matt Allpress

A police team and a few officials at the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) have reached the site to gather more information about the latest findings, acting chief district officer Arjun Sharma at Kaski District Administration Office (DAO) said.

“The investigation has been intensified further after the family members and friends identified his personal items which were found there on Saturday,” he added.

Madhu Baral, an Official at the Sikles-based contact office of the ACAP said that human remains were seen after two locals found personal belongings at Nisha area. “An ATM card and iPhone set used by Matt have also been found nearby the site on Saturday,” he added.

On a facebook page entitled “findmattallpress”, team find-matt posted: “It’s unfortunate that we have to report this news: On May 10 two local Nepali people foraging in the mountains above Sikles, about one hour off the main track, found human remains.”

“On May 11, four Nepalese Police along with an ACAP Officer went to the site and reported finding some items of personal equipment belonging to Matthew, who has now been missing in the Annapurna region for just over six months," the post further read. “The police are still at the site today gathering information. Matt’s family and close friends ask for respect at this difficult time.”

“I don’t have any more information as the team has not yet returned from Sikles,” Matt’s mother Margaret told THT Online from Pokhara. Matt’s father is on the way to Nepal from Western Australia.

According to police, three police personnel, two officials from ACAP and four locals have been collecting the remains there. The team will return to Pokhara by late in the evening today or Tuesday morning.

Margaret arrived here last month to conduct search operations for her missing son. “The first of two land searches had commenced from early May,” a statement issued earlier by Margaret said. Due to the weather and level of snow, Matt’s family had suspended the search from January through to April.

A graduate in creative design, Matt, who hails from Perth had been on a solo trek to Annapurna Region and missed his flight home scheduled for November 14. Matt’s family initially performed land searches along his planned route and other possible tracks by locals in the lower jungle areas and as high up on the trek routes as they could manage. Three helicopter searches with high altitude Sherpas, were also conducted on Namun Bhanjyang, Timang and Syange areas.

According to Margaret, Matt’s last message from a guesthouse at Sikles stated he would be “out of contact for 9-11 days, heading towards a place called Dudh Pokhari, then I’m back in time for my flight into Sydney on November 14.”

During joint press meet in Capital on April 25, parents of four foreigners who went missing or were murdered in Nepal while on trek at different times, had urged the government to find the whereabouts of their missing ones.

Parents of Zisimos Souflas, Aubrey Sacco, Debbie Maveau and Matthew, called on the government to intensify the search for those missing. Zisimos's mother Pauline Souflas, Allpress's mother Margaret, Sacco's parents Paul and Connie and Maveau's father Devos Rudy were present in the conference.

American hiker Aubrey (23), had gone missing in Langtang National Park, Rasuwa in April 22, 2010. A Belgian national, Debbie Maveau, went to Langtang in May last year and was found dead in Khanti jungle in Safru VDC 16 days after she disappeared.

British national Zisimos (29), who had gone on a trek vanished since April 23, 2012 in Namche Bazaar.

READ ALSO: Parents of missing foreign trekkers seek answers

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