The climbers who died on the Queenstown mountain were Australians


Two Australians died to the death during a mountain climb near Queenstown, says New Zealand police.

Australians Brett Lentfer, 62, and James Spaile, 44, died after falling hundreds of feet off a cliff in the Remarkables mountain range yesterday.

It is understood that the couple fell at least 300 meters when their ropes were cut on sharp rocks, said a rescuer

One of the men's bodies was recovered late Wednesday and the second man's body was recovered this morning after a two-hour search.

Their deaths will be reported to the coroner, the New Zealand Herald relationships.

The couple was on a guided climb of the mountain range known as The Grand Traverse, which is designed for experienced climbers. Their guide was unharmed.

Chris Prudden of the Queenstown mountain rescue team, who had been the first on the scene, told that it looked like men's ropes were broken.

"The initial report I received was … somehow the rope was cut," he said.

"Ropes are incredibly strong but sharp rocks can do damage very quickly. It is not surprising given the nature of the terrain. "

Prudden told al Herald when he arrived on the scene he saw a person at the bottom of a hill and another at the top.

"It was rather sad, rather tragic," he said. "Seeing the end of that situation knowing full well that 300 meters have fallen – it's a long way in that steep terrain."

He said that unstable ground and weak snow may have played a role in the tragedy.

"It was very hot, a little cloud spread around the summit and the snow was very soft and could be called unstable in the areas of the Grand Traverse, although now it is mostly exposed rock there. That weak snow could also having been a component, "he said.

The men were going up with the company Aspiring Guides, NewsHub relationships.

The director of the company Vickie Sullivan said that the tragedy left the staff "devastated".

"Our immediate concern is for families who have lost their loved ones and to support them in any way possible," he said.

"We are also working closely with the New Zealand police and the NZ Mountain Guides Association to help their investigation into the circumstances of the accident and we are conducting our internal audit."

And there is something else.



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