Father places stone to mark deaths

Eric Soubrier yesterday morning before trekking up Cecil Peak to place a commemorative stone for his son and his son's friend, who drowned in Lake Wakatipu three years ago. Cecil Peak is pictured behind Mr Soubrier, in the distance across Lake Wakatipu. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Eric Soubrier yesterday morning before trekking up Cecil Peak to place a commemorative stone for his son and his son's friend, who drowned in Lake Wakatipu three years ago. Cecil Peak is pictured behind Mr Soubrier, in the distance across Lake Wakatipu. Photo by Christina McDonald.
''It's in memory of my son,'' Frenchman Eric Soubrier said as looked towards his backpack which encased a weighty engraved stone commemorating his son and his son's friend, who died in 2010.

The stone was ferried with Mr Soubrier across Lake Wakatipu by Coastguard Queenstown to the base of Cecil Peak at 7.30am yesterday.

Mr Soubrier was then dropped off with the memorial stone, which he planned to carry up to a ledge on the peak where his son Raphael Soubrier (21) and his son's friend Yoann Firdion (24), both from France, had climbed to take photos.

Raphael and Yoann drowned in the lake while kayaking in rough conditions exactly three years ago yesterday.

Photos were retrieved from their camera and were used to help decide where to place the stone.

''I want to find this place and leave this stone so the mountain will remember these boys.

''[And] it's my way to remember my son. Today is the third year after [their deaths].''

During a hearing in Queenstown in September 2011, coroner David Crerar said the boys ''left the safety of the shore too late and left the call to safety too late'' and described their degree of preparation and equipment as ''inappropriate''.

The boys had planned a return journey from Queenstown to Hidden Island in an open double kayak.