10 Aug 2015

Skier dead after avalanche near Queenstown

6:40 pm on 10 August 2015

A man is dead after an avalanche near the Devil's Staircase, south of Queenstown, this afternoon.

Devil's Staircase

Devil's Staircase Photo: Google Maps

The avalanche hit at Loch Linnhe and caught out a group of heli-skiers, with about 20 people on the mountain at the time.

Senior Sergent Darryl Lennane said the 58-year-old man was initially pulled out of the avalanche debris alive but died a short time later.

Southern Lakes Heliski director Jonathan Wallis said one of its pilots raised the alarm about the avalanche just after 2.30pm.

He said the skier was found 10 minutes later but was pronounced dead at the scene.

Heliworks Queenstown general manager Richard Mills said rescue teams were sent from his organisation, the Remarkables Ski Field and the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust Air.

Mr Mills said one of his pilots described the avalanche as large.

The man's death has been referred to the coroner.