Member of PM's tramping party dies - RePress

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Friday, August 15

Member of PM's tramping party dies

A mountain guide in Prime Minister Helen Clark's alpine party has died near Lake Tekapo in the central South Island today.

Police tonight confirmed the dead man was Gottlieb Otto Braun-Elwert, aged 59.

Miss Clark is understood to have been involved in resuscitation efforts on him late this afternoon.

Mr Braun-Elwert suffered what is believed to be a heart attack, Inspector Dave Gaskin, area commander for Mid-South Canterbury police said tonight.

Miss Clark and Dr Davis were reported to be safe in a hut in a remote part of the Lake Tekapo region.

Miss Clark's spokesman said there was no danger to Miss Clark or members of the party.

Mr Braun-Elwert had an alpine recreation business based at Lake Tekapo and Miss Clark and her husband Peter Davis, keen mountain climbers and skiing enthusiasts, were regular clients of his.

Search and Rescue volunteers have reached the hut in the Two Thumbs range in the South Canterbury back country and are preparing to evacuate the party, Mr Gaskin said.

"Due to atrocious weather conditions a helicopter which was dispatched from Christchurch has been unable to reach the location," Mr Gaskin said.

Mr Braun-Elwert, who had a degree in nuclear physics, immigrated to New Zealand in 1978.

As well as taking Miss Clark and Dr Davis cross-country skiing several times, he guided them climbing in New Zealand and in South America.-NZPA

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