Tararua Ranges deaths referred to coroner

It is thought the two men died of hypothermia, due to the "extreme weather conditions" during a tramp in the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Supplied via Flickr.com
It is thought the two men died of hypothermia, due to the "extreme weather conditions" during a tramp in the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Supplied via Flickr.com

The deaths of two men, who died on an overnight tramp in the Tararua Ranges, have been referred to the Coroner.

It was suspected Pavel Pazniak, 32, and Michael Stepura, 39, died of hypothermia, due to the "extreme weather conditions" including strong wind and rain and freezing temperatures in exposed areas overnight on November 21.

Pavel Pazniak, 32, died while tramping in the Tararua ranges. Photo / Supplied
Pavel Pazniak, 32, died while tramping in the Tararua ranges. Photo / Supplied

In a statement, police said the deaths had been referred to the Coroner for a "final determination as to the cause of death".

Police said inquiries conducted since the pair were found, including post-mortem examinations, indicated the pair had succumbed to hypothermia.

Michael Stepura died whilst tramping in the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Supplied
Michael Stepura died whilst tramping in the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Supplied

The deaths of Stepura, originally from Ukraine and Pazniak, originally from Belarus, on an overnight tramp to the Alpha Hut from the Waiohine Gorge campsite, have puzzled the community.

They'd set off on Saturday, November 19, and were due back the next evening, but when they failed to return family members reported them missing.

A member of the public found one of the bodies at 10.25am on Monday. The second body was found a short distance away. They died just 1km from a hut.

Police, today, issued a reminder for those heading outdoors to be prepared.

"Regardless of whether you're heading out for a few hours or a few days or how experienced you may be, being prepared and properly equipped is vital."

Police quick tips to those heading outdoors:

• Be prepared
• Plan carefully
• Know your limitations
• Dress appropriately; several layers is essential
• Take sufficient supplies
• Let someone know the route you are taking and when you expect to be back

- NZ Herald

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