Two climbers who died in separate incidents in the Aoraki Mt
Cook National Park have been identified.
New Zealander Duncan Robert Rait, 36, died on Friday after
slipping on ice, falling down a gully and over a bluff.
Mr Rait, who was living in Melbourne, was with a party of ski
mountaineers who were flown by helicopter to a spot near the
Tasman Saddle Hutt on the Tasman Glacier on Friday morning.
He had been planning a four-day ski tour of the area with his
brother and was alive when rescuers reached him.
Police said efforts to rescue the experienced alpinist were
hampered by bad weather conditions on Friday.
"The rescue team were dropped at the hut and then descended
from there to the location of the injured man as the
helicopter became grounded due to poor weather."
Rescuers carried Mr Rait for two hours before reaching the
helicopter. He was pronounced dead by paramedics on arrival
at Mt Cook Village.
Police said the spot Mr Rait fell from was only a few hundred
metres away from the Tasman Saddle Hutt.
Englishman Robert Buckley, 31, has been identified as the
second climber who died in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.
Mr Buckley, who was living in Christchurch, was with three
other young men who had attempted to climb the Sefton Bivvy
from Mt Cook Village on Saturday.
The party appeared to be "insufficiently" equipped and
inexperienced for the climb they had chosen," police said.
"They had hired some climbing equipment early that day and
had managed to get within 80 meters of the bivvy. At this
stage ... one of the party has slipped on the ice and has
fallen some 700 metres to his death."
The other men alerted emergency services but were unable to
move from their location.
When a helicopter and rescue team reached the party, they
were not able to rescue the men and recover the body because
it was getting dark.
As a result, the survivors spent Saturday night where they
were and were picked up at first light.
Mr Buckley's body was recovered later in the day.
Both accidents have been referred to the Coroner, police