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Page last updated at 21:46 GMT, Saturday, 13 December 2008

Australia climber dies on NZ peak

A helicopter prepares to rescue Japanese climber Hideaki Nara on 5 December, 2008
Eight days ago a Japanese climber was rescued from Mt Cook

An Australian climber has been rescued from New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt Cook, but his brother is presumed dead after falling more than 500m (1,600ft).

Miles Vinar, 42, was rescued after two nights alone on a ridge without a tent or cooker, after Mark Vinar, 43, lost his footing while descending.

Constable Les Andrew from Omarama police said: "Miles was adamant there was no way Mark would have survived."

It is the second death on the 3,750m (12,300 ft) mountain in eight days.

According to police, the brothers, from Perth, were descending from Zurbriggen Ridge with Miles Vinar leading the way.

"Miles had to climb down using an ice pick and crampons. He instructed Mark about it, but for some reason Mark lost his footing and fell backwards and started rolling," Mr Andrew told the Herald on Sunday newspaper.

"He went behind some rocks, then appeared again rolling down the hill. He went down about 500m and then disappeared."

Miles Vinar continued to descend but conditions deteriorated and he waited two days before a rescue helicopter was able to find him.

He was uninjured. His brother is presumed dead, either having fallen into a crevasse or being buried under snow. The avalanche risk is high on the mountain.

Eight days ago Japanese climber Kiyoshi Ikenouchi died just hours before his climbing companion Hideaki Nara was rescued after being stranded for a week.



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