21 Feb 2014

Two killed in Haast slip were warned

8:48 am on 21 February 2014

An inquest into the deaths of two Canadian tourists who died in a landslip near Haast has heard they were warned of the bad weather and dangerous road conditions.

Connor Hayes and Joanna Lam arrived last September at a campground in Haast, which was closed due to the severe gales and heavy rain.

They were offered a cabin with a higher cost, but declined and choose to drive on in an attempt to reach Wanaka.

The campground manager that night, Norma Duggan, says she warned them how dangerous the road would be.

"I told them what the weather warning was, and I said: 'It's up to you. You stay or you go on, It's your priorities, we know what we're in for.''

Coroner David Crerar ruled that both Ms Lam and Mr Hayes were killed as a result of a landslip creating an avalanche of trees and rocks, which swept their campervan off the road and into the Haast River.

The family the two Canadians thanked the community of Haast for its support.

A letter read out to the court on behalf of Mr Hayes' family by Kath Monk, spoke of the overwhelming support they have received.