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NZ Police Alert: Climbing Accident, Mt Cook

10:15 1-01-2008 Canterbury

NZ Police Alert: Climbing Accident, Near The Summit Rocks, Aoraki - Mt Cook

Location of incident: Aoraki - Mt Cook
Incident Type: Climbing accident

A 54-year-old Wanaka climbing guide is dead after falling 60 metres near the Summit Rocks on Aoraki-Mt Cook today.

The man, described as a well-respected and experienced guide, was at about 3400 metres, ascending Summit Rocks when he fell.

The man's name will be released when all next of kin have been advised, but Twizel Police Senior Constable Brent Swanson said the guiding community was shocked by the loss of a very experienced guide.

Mr Swanson said the man was roped to a female Scottish client when he fell, but the anchor had held.

Investigations were continuing into why the man fell, and witnesses were being interviewed. The accident has been reported to the coroner.

Mr Swanson said the alarm was raised about 9.30am, and there were a number of other guides and clients in the area.

''He was initially attended to by other guides in the area, and then members of the DOC mountain rescue team brought him out by helicopter, but he died of his injuries before arrival at the emergency services building.'

Mr Swanson said four other guides and five clients in the area at the time were also brought out by helicopter.

''They were all pretty shell shocked by what had happened. But no other people were in any danger.''

Mr Swanson said the weather conditions at the time were extremely good. There had been a hard freeze overnight, and the rescue was carried out in good conditions.

''There was some very good flying by the Heliline pilots at high altitude.''

Eight people including those at base were involved in the rescue efforts, and two helicopters were involved in stropping out the deceased and the other climbers and guides.

Senior Constable Brent Swanson
Twizel Police

Issued By: Inspector Alan Weston

This is an initial incident report. Please keep in mind that as more information is gathered by Police at the scene specific details may change.


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