Byline: JAMES LANGTON
LONDONER George Metcalfe today spoke of the "devastating" moment he discovered that his American girlfriend had frozen to death in the wilderness.
Mr Metcalfe, 27, trekked through chesthigh snowdrifts in a desperate attempt to get help after he and Rachel Crowley became trapped in their car in Utah's Zion National Park.
For two days he clung to the slim hope that Miss Crowley, who had collapsed, would be found alive. But today, still recovering from the effects of his ordeal, the Finchley-based financial planner spoke of his grief at her death.
"I can't believe she has gone.
It's too hard for me to talk about what happened at the moment. I just want to be left to grieve," he said. "Rachel was a brilliant person. She was flamboyant, a great laugh."
His father Richard said that when he first spoke to George after his rescue in a phone call to the family home in South Africa, his son had not yet realised Rachel had been found dead.
"All he asked about was Rachel.
At that time we didn't know what had happened to her. He said 'Dad, don't worry about me. I'm worried about Rachel. I'll be OK.
It's Rachel'. At that time we didn't know what had happened to her."
Mr Metcalfe, who was born in South Africa, was due to start a new job this Monday but instead will be flying to Rachel's family home in Massachusetts to attend her funeral.
The couple had originally flown to Las Vegas for a short holiday when they decided to take their hired Jeep Wrangler up a dirt track in a remote corner of Zion National Park in one of the most inhospitable parts of the United States. After the car became stuck in mud, they were trapped by a massive snowstorm that left them unable to move. …