Rented van of missing Ottawa couple found down bluff in New Zealand

HAAST, New Zealand – Police in New Zealand say parts of a wrecked van that had been rented by a missing Canadian couple have been found in a rugged area on the west coast of the country.

Connor Hayes, 25, and Joanna Lam, 24, were last seen on Sept. 10 at Fox Glacier, a popular tourist destination.

Police say the rear wheels and chassis of the van the couple had rented was found Tuesday about 80 metres down in a gorge on the Haast River.

The body and engine of the van haven’t been found. Police say they don’t know if Hayes or Lam were in the van when it went off the road.

Authorities say they will resume their search for the couple by foot and in jet boats at first light Wednesday.

A helicopter will also fly over the area to help look for the missing pair.

A police crash investigator and photographer have already been to the scene where parts of the van were found.

Local media reports say a landslide last week had forced the closure of a state highway in the area.

The Foreign Affairs department says Canadian consular officials are working closely with local authorities.

“Consular officers remain in contact with family members and are providing assistance,” said spokesman Ian Trites.

The New Zealand Herald has reported that Lam was due to start working at the radiology department at Nelson District Health Board on Monday but never showed up.

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