Two Australians have plummeted to their deaths, falling 1,000-feet from the Remarkables mountain range in New Zealand, in a horror climbing accident. Brett Alexander Lentfer, 62, and James Harry Spaile, 44, died after their ropes were severed during a climb near Queenstown on the South Island.
The first rescuer on the scene said it appeared the Australian men’s ropes had been cut on sharp rocks while they were attempting a challenging route and had fallen around 1,000-feet to their deaths. A guide with the two men was unharmed.
“It’s technical terrain. It’s very steep on either side. The only way off it is to go across it,” rescuer Chris Prudden said. “It’s a guide’s worst nightmare when things become unstuck. It was pretty sad, pretty tragic … to see the end of that situation knowing full well that they’d fallen 300m — it’s a hell of a long way in that steep terrain.”
The trio was negotiating a tricky stretch near the 7,600-foot summit known as the Grand Traverse when disaster struck around 11.45 am local time. One body was recovered yesterday, with the second retrieved after a helicopter search early this morning. Next of kin have been informed.