Saturday, December 10, 2011

Malaysian, Chinese Tourists Die Attempting to Cross New Zealand River at Dark

According to the Malaysian National News Agency, a Malaysian tourist, 23, as well as another from China, 20, died late on Friday (December 9) after they attempted to cross a river near New Zealand South Island's Franz Josef Glacier during hours of darkness.

The two tourists who perished were part of a group of four that were hiking on a walking track near the glacier. The four attempted to cross the Waiho River on foot at about 2130, but the two women were swept off of their feet and washed downstream. The two who survived walked to summon help. A rescue helicopter later found the two tourists who died in the Waiho River at approximately 0100 hours on Saturday (November 10).

COMMENT: The Waiho River is known locally to be very dangerous as it is often hard to see the bottom. This incident is a reminder to us all that crossing any river on foot, particularly one we don't know well, is never a good idea.

At the very least, the foursome should have sought local advice on the river and planned their hike accordingly. It is always sad to see the loss of two promising lives who are taken from us unnecessarily. As I have said all too many times, an educated traveler is a safe traveler.


A cursory search on the Internet revealed the following link, which urges walkers not to cross rivers and channels and use only river bridges:
http://www.wonderwalkers.co.nz/default,517,franz-josef-glacier-westland-national-park.sm

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