Update: Commandos worked in vain to revive a fellow Australian soldier who fell through an ice crevasse during specialist training on New Zealand’s Mt Cook.
Defence have confirmed the death of the Sydney-based soldier, a member of the 2nd Commando Regiment, who fell at about midday (0800 WST) today during a two-week mountain and cold weather training exercise.
“The soldier was recovered by his colleagues who administered first aid. Sadly they were unable to revive him,” Defence said in a brief statement.
Police said the 44-year-old man fell 30 to 40 metres down the crevasse in the Grand Plateau area.
He was highly qualified and experienced in alpine, mountain and altitude activities, Defence said.
The soldier’s family have been notified but his name has not been released.
No other members of the party, believed to number 10, were injured in the incident.
Search and Rescue told local television the climbers weren’t tied together, and the man probably didn’t survive the fall.
The area should only be climbed by advanced adventurers familiar with the area, a Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesman said.
Alpine Guides manager Arthur McBride said crevasses could be invisible if snow fell over them, but if people were roped to each other, they would usually be safe.
At 3724 metres, Mt Cook is New Zealand’s tallest mountain.