7 Dec 2019

Death of 70yo tourist on Routeburn Track referred to coroner

10:10 am on 7 December 2019

Authorities are looking into the death of a 70-year-old tourist who died while hiking on the Routeburn Track.

The Routeburn Track.

File photo of the Routeburn track. Photo: 123rf.com

The Australian man fell while on a guided walking tour after midday yesterday.

Emergency services were called to the scene between Lake McKenzie Hut and Routeburn Falls Hut, about 12.45pm.

The man was reported to be seriously injured and a rescue helicopter was dispatched.

A paramedic on board the helicopter later confirmed he had died.

Low cloud and high wind speeds delayed recovery of the body until 7.30pm when it was completed with the help of police and search and rescue volunteers.

Ultimate Hikes general manager Noel Saxon said in a statement to the Otago Daily Times that conditions were wet and windy, but not considered unsafe to walk.

The man had been walking up a rise on the track and was about to walk on to a bridge when he slipped and fell. A guide and a walker, who is also a trained emergency physician, were behind the man and immediately assisted, along with two other guides, but he was unable to be revived.

"Our sincerest condolences go out to the man's family and friends at this very sad time," Mr Saxon said the a statement. "We are focused on supporting his family, the other walkers in the group and our staff who may have been affected. We will also be working with the appropriate authorities as investigations commence."

The group, accompanied by four guides, was on the second day of a three-day trek that starts at The Divide and ends at the Routeburn Shelter.

The death has been referred to the coroner and police, WorkSafe and the Department of Conservation have been notified.

- RNZ / Otago Daily Times