4 Dec 2019

Tourist died from heart disease on Tongariro Crossing - coroner

2:53 pm on 4 December 2019

A coroner has ruled that a German tourist who died on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing last year was well prepared and fit for the trek.

View along the Tongariro Alpine trail Crossing in New Zealand

View along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing trail. Photo: 123RF

Bernhard Hanssen, aged 56, walked the track in November 2018 on his own.

He was on holiday in New Zealand with his wife, and two friends.

The others decided not to walk the track because of prevailing weather conditions.

He collapsed and was given CPR by other walkers, including two doctors, but he died at the scene.

Coroner Wallace Bain found that Mr Hanssen had a heart disease and may have collapsed after his heart was unable to respond to the need to provide more oxygen.

Dr Bain found that nothing in Mr Hanssen's death could be contributed to his fitness, preparation, clothing, equipment or his decision to walk alone.

The inquest, which was held in October, was told Mr Hanssen had taken every step to have himself declared fit and able to complete the walk.

A pathologist's report given to the inquest described Mr Hanssen as a fit looking middle-aged adult.

Dr Bain did not make any recommendations in his findings because of the circumstances surrounding the death and the preparedness of Mr Hanssen.

In the 2018-19 summer season, 150,000 people hiked over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, 31 required search and rescue assistance and two died.