Findings released over avalanche deaths

Sydney doctor Michael Bishop, and German father and son, Johann Viellehner and Raphael Viellehner were last seen on Linda Glacier in the Mt Cook National Park. Photo / iStock
Sydney doctor Michael Bishop, and German father and son, Johann Viellehner and Raphael Viellehner were last seen on Linda Glacier in the Mt Cook National Park. Photo / iStock

A coroner has released findings into the deaths of five tourists in two separate avalanche tramping incidents in the South Island.

Sydney doctor Michael Bishop, 53, and German father and son, Johann Viellehner, 58, and Raphael Viellehner, 27, were last seen on Linda Glacier in the Mt Cook National Park on December 29, 2014.

It was believed they were buried in an avalanche. An extensive search was carried out but their bodies were never found.

Coroner David Crear found the tourists had likely died of severe injuries or suffocation

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Canadian tourists Louis-Vincent Lessard and Etienne Lemieux whose bodies were found in avalanche debris about 350m below the Kepler Track, near Te Anau on July 26, 2015, died of suffocation, Mr Crear found.

Mr Crear also released findings into the death of Auckland man George Little, 69, who slid down a bank and over a cliff while tramping the Milford Track on March 6, 2015. It was found he had died of "traumatic injuries".

- NZ Herald

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