Wednesday, May 9, 2007

American Student Killed in Glacier Accident

The current big news story in New Zealand, as reported on

Two climbers have survived a fall of up to 400m from a steep slope in Mount Aspiring National Park, but a friend roped to them died.

Last night, police said a 20-year-old American man died after the Monday afternoon fall ended when the trio hit an ice wall.

The trio, all American, are thought to be students in Canterbury.

Follow-ups have revealed that the students were American study abroad students at Lincoln University in Christchurch, here for the semester. Apparently they encountered an obstruction on the normal trail so they went off instead onto the ice, roped together, but one of them slipped and dragged the others with him. The fact that only one of them died is rather miraculous, really.

I didn't know the student, but I know the area this accident happened in (I travelled through it last month). It's spread like wildfire amongst the American study abroad students, actually, because this student could have been any of us and reveals a darker side to tramping through the wilderness.

No worries though, everyone, as I have no plans whatsoever to wander off a marked trail anytime soon.