3 Jan 2016

Two trampers found dead in South Island

11:48 pm on 3 January 2016

Two trampers have died in separate incidents on the South Island's west coast in the last two days.

Franz Josef glacier.

Franz Josef glacier. Photo: Supplied

A 32-year-old Christchurch woman died while trying to cross a river during a group walk in the Deception Valley near Otira, West Coast, today.

Meanwhile, Rangiora man Eric Jacomb, 54, is believed to have slipped on ice before falling about 30 to 40 metres to his death in Mawson Glacier, near Franz Josef glacier. His body was recovered by the South Westland alpine rescue team early this morning.

The woman was in a party of five trampers about three kilometres up Deception Valley when they were making their third crossing of the Deception River, Tasman police acting senior sergeant Wayne Corbett said.

She became detached from her group and was swept downstream.

Her friends found her about one kilometre downstream, carried out CPR and called emergency services, but the woman died at the scene, Mr Corbett said.

"The party activated their EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) around 11am which meant a rescue chopper and other emergency services staff were able to go straight to the scene."

The woman's body was then flown to Greymouth.

The victim's name would be released once family was notified.

Man falls to death in South Westland

Police found Eric Jacomb's body about 8am this morning after he fell to his death in the Mawson Glacier, South Westland.

Sergeant Sean Judd, West Coast Police search and rescue, said the man's friends became concerned when he failed to arrive at Top Butler Hut, where they had arranged to meet, and used their hired mountain radio to raise the alarm about 6.30pm last night.

Mr Jacomb knew the area well and had set off early in the morning to try to get a headstart on his friends, police said.

Weather conditions meant searchers were unable to get into the area last night. The Alpine Cliff Rescue Team was flown in early this morning, spoke to the rest of the party at the hut and then flew a recce over the area.

"The team sighted a body at the base of a bluff. It appears the man has slipped and tragically fallen to his death. It was a technical recovery and we certainly needed the team's skills in this type of terrain."

The body has been flown to Fox Glacier and the rest of the party were flown to Franz Josef.

Police have contacted the man's next of kin.

The death has been referred to the coroner.