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Tourist killed in 50m fall
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Mar 20, 2006, 10:48 PM
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Tourist killed in 50m fall
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21 March 2006

An Italian tourist has been killed after falling 50m from a popular climbing area near Wanaka.

Umberto Cantamutto, 27, died after falling from the top of a multi-pitched bolted climbing wall at Hospital Flat, between Wanaka and the Treble Cone ski area, yesterday.

He and his Spanish girlfriend, who had been travelling in New Zealand for five months, were climbing together when the accident happened.

Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team member Gary Dickson said Cantamutto had reached the top of the climbing wall and was preparing to abseil down. "You normally clip in and set your rope up to abseil down, but when he leaned back he tumbled down."

Dickson said it would not be possible to survive such a fall.

Cantamutto's partner called for help on a cellphone. The message reached police through a tourist lodge as she called overseas rather than dialling 111.

Dickson said she was upset and did not speak much English.

Paramedics worked on Cantamutto but he died at the scene. The body was removed by helicopter.

Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, of the Wanaka police, said the couple were keen rock climbers who had climbed together for two or three years. They had been working in Wanaka for about two weeks.

Initial police inquiries indicated Cantamutto fell "as a result of a personal error as opposed to any equipment failure", Nicholson said.

Wanaka climbing expert and search and rescue adviser Geoff Wayatt said Hospital Flat was a popular climbing area that was often used when weather was bad in the Southern Alps.

It was the first fatality in the area, he said, although there had been two serious accidents in the past five years.

Wayatt said it was an unusual accident.

"Most of the climbs there are bolted, so it's become a sport-climbing area. That makes the whole thing a lot safer," he said.

"Although rock-climbing is in the high-risk sport category in general terms, there are very few fatalities around the world."

Dickson said abseiling accidents were not uncommon. "It's one of those sports that sometimes if you make an error, there's no coming back."

Cantamutto's family in Italy has been informed of his death and plans to fly the body back to Italy.

The death has been referred to the Queenstown Coroner.,00.html


Mar 20, 2006, 11:12 PM
Post #2 of 2 (717 views)

Registered: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 3118

Re: Tourist killed in 50m fall [In reply to]
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majid_sabet already beat you to it

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