Man who died suddenly worked in health sector

An Australian who collapsed and died in Queenstown last week was a specialist in medical equipment, including defibrillators.

Steve Somerwil (52) had been on a canyoning trip with his wife and three children on January 11.

He was taking off his wetsuit when he collapsed.

It is understood to have been a medical incident, although initial reports said he slipped on concrete and hit his head.

Mr Somerwil, from Melbourne, worked as a project manager for Health Purchasing Victoria, part of the Department of Health Victoria.

A death notice in Melbourne's The Age newspaper said Mr Somerwil "died suddenly on a family holiday to New Zealand''.

He was the "loved and loving husband of Joanne. Wonderful father of Amy, Tim and Mark. Son-in-law of Pam and Bruce Hayes. We will never forget you.''

Canyoning Queenstown co-owner Stefan Crawford told Mountain Scene there was nothing to suggest any pre-existing condition.

Mr Crawford said: "Talking to the family, it sounded like it was a complete surprise, because he was such a fit guy.''

Staff at the company's Bob's Cove building administered CPR till an ambulance arrived, but Mr Somerwil died that night at Queenstown's Lakes District Hospital.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz

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