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Avalanche buries 3, kills 1 in NZ

AN avalanche on New Zealand's South Island buried three skiers yesterday, killing one, police said. Mountain guides rescued the other two.

The trio were buried under six to seven centimeters on the Ragged Range mountains near the town of Methven in South Canterbury, police constable Brent Swanson said.

By the time the two guides reached one of the three - a 60-year-old man - he was unconscious. Rescuers and a doctor at the scene were unable to resuscitate him. Police have not yet released details about the man, saying only that he was a foreign tourist.

The other two were pulled out of the snow alive and flown out by helicopter, along with the rest of their tour group.

The surviving pair were in good condition and did not need medical treatment, police said.

"It was a relatively big avalanche," said Steve Schreiber, avalanche program manager for New Zealand's Mountain Safety Council, saying it was about 182 meters wide and contained about 100 tons of debris.

The council issued an avalanche alert warning earlier yesterday, after warm winds triggered "dangerous avalanche conditions" along South Island's Southern Alps.


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