November 7, 2019 / 4:05 AM / a month ago

Two climbers die after falling off cliff in New Zealand

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Two men from Australia died this week following a climbing accident near the city of Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island, New Zealand Police said on Thursday.

Brett Alexander Lentfer, 62, and James Harry Spaile, 44, died after they fell off a cliff about midday on Wednesday, the police said. Lentfer is an Australian resident while Spaile is an Australian, the statement said.

The pair were climbing in an area of The Remarkables mountain range known as the Grand Traverse when they fell, the police said.

The Grand Traverse is a steep alpine considered one of the best routes in the country for experienced climbers with previous mountaineering experience. It takes about eight to 10 hours to complete the traverse.

“Our condolences are with the family and friends of both men,” police said in the statement.

The pair were roped together, according to local media reports, and were climbing with a guide at the time.

The body of one climber was found on Wednesday while the other man was recovered on Thursday, the police said in earlier statements.

(Corrects to show the accident happened on Wednesday, not Tuesday, in paragraph 2 and that the body of the first climber was recovered on Wednesday, not Tuesday, and the second climber’s body was recovered on Thursday, not Wednesday, in paragraph 7)

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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