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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 02:37 GMT
Four die in New Zealand avalanche
Mount Cook
Mount Cook is New Zealand's highest peak
Four people have been killed and two injured in an avalanche on New Zealand's Mount Tasman.

Rescuers found the bodies of three of the climbers at the scene and a fourth died after being airlifted. Two others were taken to hospital in Christchurch.

Mount Tasman, on New Zealand's South Island, is a close neighbour to the country's highest peak, Mount Cook.

The accident brings to 10 the number of climbers who have died in the Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park this year.

Police said two of those killed on Wednesday were Australians and the rest of those killed and injured were New Zealanders.

"It is unknown what triggered the avalanche at this stage but inquiries into the cause of the accident will be made," a police statement said.

The weather was reported to be clear and sunny at the time of the avalanche.

"It was fine with a south-west breeze. It is not surprising there were people up there, as it was suitable weather to climb the mountain today," said Meteorologist spokesman Gerard Bellam.

Four Latvian climbers were killed on Mount Cook after falling three weeks ago.

Thousands of tourists from around the world visit the region every year to climb the technically challenging Southern Alps.




SEE ALSO:
Latvian climbers die on NZ peak
10 Dec 03  |  Asia-Pacific
British climber rescued
25 Oct 03  |  UK
Double amputee conquers NZ peak
08 Jan 02  |  Asia-Pacific


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