Taranaki double tragedy: Climbers' bodies recovered from mountain

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 May 2021, 11:33AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Taranaki double tragedy: Climbers' bodies recovered from mountain

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 May 2021, 11:33AM

The bodies of two climbers who died on Mt Taranaki on Tuesday have been recovered.

Christchurch-based engineering geologists Richard Phillips and Peter Kirkwood died while climbing Mt Taranaki.

One of the climbers raised the alarm with police on Tuesday night saying the other had fallen.

The bodies were recovered just after 8am today with the help of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter and police search and rescue and Alpine Cliff Rescue crew.

It followed an unsuccessful attempt to recover the bodies yesterday due to poor conditions. The climbers were first located just after midnight on Monday.

A formal identification process will now be undertaken to identify the men, a police statement said.

The men lived in Christchurch and had travelled to Taranaki as part of their work for environmental and engineering consultancy company Tonkin + Taylor.

They were climbing the mountain in their own time.

Tonkin + Taylor managing director Dr Tim Fisher said police told the company yesterday morning that two of their "treasured staff" had been involved in a climbing accident.

"Our priority right now is to support their families and our people as we deal with this incredibly sad news.

"We would like to thank Taranaki police and search and rescue for their service and support," a company statement said.

South Taranaki iwi Ngāruahine posted on Facebook that the men climbed up the summit track from the north but have fallen on the southern side of the summit.

A rāhui is in place on the mountain and will be reviewed a week after the bodies are recovered.

It is understood the accident happened near Syme Hut.

Just two weeks ago Tonkin + Taylor posted a tribute on social media from Phillips for well-respected rope technician Tom Arnold after he died in a rockfall near Lake Manapōuri in Fiordland.

He praised Arnold's professionalism and safety-first attitude.