Is­raeli’s frozen body is found in New Zealand

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DAN GOLD­BERG SYD­NEY

THE BODY of the Is­raeli back­packer miss­ing in New Zealand since March 26 has been found.

Po­lice said on Satur­day that a post­mortem con­firmed it was Liat Tas-Okin, 35, who failed to re­turn from a three-day trek on the South Is­land.

Af­ter a month-long of­fi­cial search, Ms Tas-Okin’s brother, Itamar, en­listed Hi­lik Mag­nus, Is­rael’s most renowned search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tor, to con­tinue a private search of the dense bush­land on April 24.

He found her back­pack and shoes last Thurs­day, prompt­ing lo­cal po­lice to re­turn to the scene, where they found Ms Tas-Okin’s frozen body.

“We re­trieved the body with the use of a he­li­copter in an elab­o­rate opera- tion car­ried out in co­op­er­a­tion with lo­cal po­lice,” Mag­nus said.

Ms Tas-Okin’s mother Miriam, who lives in Ne­tiv Ha’asara, just 50 me­tres from the Gaza Strip, told Ye­diot Achronot’s web­site Ynet: “I was very sur­prised and shocked. I was cer­tain she would be found alive.

“Dur­ing this en­tire time we con­tin­ued to try and find her al­though a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of time had passed and peo­ple told me that the sit­u­a­tion was wor­ry­ing.”

Itamar Tas told the New Zealand Her­ald: “It’s the worst thing that could hap­pen to a fam­ily.”

The private search cost an es­ti­mated $NZ100,000 [£40,000], which was raised from Tas fam­ily sav­ings, loans and do­na­tions from peo­ple in Is­rael and New Zealand.

Tragic: Liat Tas-Okin died on trek

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