A post-mortem examination on the body of British Cypriot scientist Natalie Christopher who was found dead in a 20-meter ravine in Ikaria late on Wednesday afternoon is expected to be carried out today, although first indications suggest she fell when a rock gave way.
Authorities on Ikaria have been waiting for the arrival of a pathologist and a team of investigators.
The body of the 34-year-old astrophysicist, known for her peace activism, her campaign for more women in under-represented scientific fields and her love for the sport, remained at the scene overnight which was closed off and guarded by police.
Natalie’s body was found by a volunteer fireman who knew the area well, three days after she was reported missing prompting a massive search by land, air and sea.
A person who participated in the search told Greece’s Open TV that Natalie may have fallen in her attempt to climb, or descend, a cliff-face.
“Unfortunately it appears she caught onto a rock which came away and crushed her,” Vaggelis Kriaras, said, citing accounts from others in the rescue operation.
A pathologist arrived in Ikaria from Syros on Thursday morning and is carrying out an examination of the scene. The body is expected to be taken to Athens for the post-mortem examination.
Greek police said the body was found in a 20-meter deep ravine. The area is difficult to reach with rough terrain, while reports said that mobile reception there was not particularly strong, something which made the search even more difficult.
Search teams had passed by the area several times during the three-day search but the body was only spotted when a volunteer fireman who knew the terrain well descended further into the ravine.
Tributes have been pouring in for the British Cypriot scientist.
“I was very saddened to hear of the tragic conclusion of the search and the fate of Natalie Christopher. A young scientist and active citizen who had her whole life in front of her and so much to give have been unfairly lost. I express my sincere condolences to her family and friends,” President Nicos Anastasiades wrote on Twitter.
Justice Minister George Savvides said he was “profoundly shocked” by Christopher’s death and offered condolences to her family and friends.
Unite Cyprus Now, a grassroots group of which Christopher was a member, said: “You touched our lives with energy and dedication to make this world a better place.”
The Cyprus Trail Runners, of which she was a member wrote on their Facebook page: “We are devastated. We have lost a beautiful soul, wonderful friend and an inspiring trail runner.”
US ambassador Judith Garber in Nicosia expressed her condolences saying Natalie’s loss will be deeply felt in Cyprus where she inspired many.
Kriaras posted an exchange of messages with the 38 years old Cypriot, Kyriakos, who asked him to convey a big thank you to everyone – civil defence, volunteers, firefighters.
Natalie and her partner had arrived in Ikaria on August 3 and were due to leave on Monday afternoon.
An enthusiastic trail runner, she went for a run on Monday morning. When contacted by telephone by her partner she told him that she was descending a ravine. A couple of hours later, after being unable to contact her, he alerted police who launched a search.
The search was boosted with the arrival of a special team with GPS equipment who were able to narrow the search after pinging her mobile phone.
Overall, 20 elite police rescuers, another 50 policemen and 30 volunteer firemen joined in the search, Greek media reported/
Natalie’s last post on her Facebook was from Seychelles beach in Ikaria on Sunday. “Beautiful spot for swimming and deep water solo … had so much fun here today! Realized later there are bolted routes here too, would love to come back again to climb. Any takers?”