Coroner: UK Scientist on Greek Island Died From a Fall

By The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece—A British scientist died instantly after falling from a height on the Greek island of Ikaria, a coroner said on Thursday, Aug. 8.

The body of Cyprus-based astrophysicist Natalie Christopher, 34, an avid trail runner, was found Wednesday afternoon in a 20-meter (65-foot) deep ravine. Her Cypriot partner had reported her missing on Monday after she went for a run near their hotel. The area has trails along steep cliffs and ravines.

Coroner Nikos Karakoukis, who traveled to the island from Athens, said evidence from an initial assessment of the area where Christopher’s body was found was “consistent with a fall from a height.”

Karakoukis told reporters that Christopher had suffered a head injury and died instantly. Her body was being transported Thursday to a morgue in the Greek capital, Athens.

Christopher, who comes from London but lived in Cyprus and was on holiday in Greece, had been reported missing by her partner after going for a run on Monday morning.

Authorities launched a search operation involving police, the fire brigade and a helicopter.

“The body of the 35-year-old British national was found by search teams at a ravine about 20 meters (66 feet) deep,” Greek police said, confirming earlier reports by state TV ERT.

Christopher was a sports enthusiast who also ran summer camps to get girls more involved in sports. Her Facebook page suggested her hobbies also included rock climbing.

Christopher’s disappearance had prompted a massive campaign on social media with friends pleading for information on her whereabouts.

Cyprus’s Justice Minister George Savvides said he was “profoundly shocked” by Christopher’s death and offered condolences to her family and friends.

“I express the sincere condolences of the Cypriot state and of myself to the family and friends of Natalie Christopher,” Cypriot Justice and Public Order Minister George Savvides said after being informed that the body had been identified.

Cypriot authorities said they were in close contact with Greek search crews and the woman’s family.

Christopher was well-known for her peace activism in ethnically-split Cyprus and was also a campaigner for more women in under-represented scientific fields.

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.”

Christopher’s death comes only a month after an American scientist, Suzanne Eaton’s body was found in an abandoned Nazi bunker on Crete, 9News reported.

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics confirmed her death, saying her body was recovered on the evening of July 8.

According to ABC News, her running shoes were missing, leading colleagues to suspect that she was jogging.

Eaton was also a professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.

Reuters and Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.