An experienced Australian climber who plunged to her death from a New Zealand mountain just before Christmas did everything possible to avoid an accident.
Nicola Anne Andrews, 28, died when she fell from the side of The Footstool, a 2764m tall peak in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, onto the Eugenie Glacier on Wednesday.
The Melbourne local was with three other experienced climbers when the accident occurred.
Her climbing party set off an emergency location beacon to alert rescue teams, allowing them to reach her while she was still alive before airlifting her to Aoraki Mount Cook Search and Rescue Base.
She died a short time later.
Inspector Dave Gaskin said while police were investigating how Ms Andrews fell, sometimes accidents occur despite how well-prepared climbers are.
“In this mountainous terrain the margin of error is extremely small and unfortunately the consequences can be life changing or fatal,” he said on Thursday.
“At this stage it would appear that Nicola and her climbing partners did everything they could to minimise risks.
“Unfortunately, given the volatile terrain, sometimes there is no explanation.”
RMIT University released a statement on Thursday mourning the death of “one of our community”.
Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean said Ms Andrews’ family had been offered counselling and support by the university.
“On behalf of the university, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family, loved ones and friends,” he said.
“As a father, I can only begin to imagine the pain the family are feeling regarding this tragedy, especially at this time of year.”
Weather conditions prior to the accident are understood to have been good.
Her death has been referred to the coroner.