German exchange student killed in hiking accident
Published Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:58PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 28, 2012 7:10PM PDT
The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the young hiker who fell to his death in the North Vancouver backcountry was missing German exchange student Jasper Houben.
The 22-year-old’s body was spotted down a steep incline near the Dreamweaver Trail at around 3 p.m. Wednesday, two days after he failed to show up for work in downtown Vancouver and was reported missing.
The discovery marked the end of the search for Houben’s friends, who have spent days putting up posters, utilizing social media sites and scouring the streets of Vancouver in hopes of turning up any sign of him.
Houben’s father Vincent, who flew in from Germany to join the search for his son, told CTV News he has found some small comfort knowing what happened to him.
“I am also very consoled by the fact that I know my son was very much loved by the people in school, the place he worked here, [and] that he liked Canada very much,” he said.
Houben was an outdoor enthusiast who came to Canada to improve his English, his father said, and he went missing just one week before his family was planning to come visit him.
“This is extremely unlucky that just at the moment that Jasper was very happy, and was enjoying the prospect of seeing his family again here in Canada, that he had a terrible accident,” his father said.
His body will be transported back to Germany.
Mounties, who also tried in vain to locate the exchange student along with North Shore Rescue members, say there is no sign of foul play, and that Houben’s death appears to have been a tragic accident.
The Coroners Service issued a statement saying Houben’s death highlights the risks posed to hikers on the North Shore, and the need for hikers to be informed about dangerous terrain and prepare adequately.
Hikers are also advised to let others know where they will be hiking, and when they plan to return.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Bhinder Sajan