A falling chunk of glacier crushed two brothers to death at a popular tourist spot, and one remained buried under ice blocks the size of large vehicles, police said Friday.
The two Australians apparently ignored rope barriers set up to prevent hikers from wandering into dangerous areas.
They were struck when a section of ice sloughed off the main face of South Island's Fox Glacier on Thursday afternoon, said Constable Tony LeSueur.
One body was recovered. "It was too dangerous to carry on" to dig out the other, LeSueur said, adding that rescuers with a mechanical digger would consider whether to resume the operation later Friday.
The glacier face is steep and prone to random ice collapses, Department of Conservation area manager Jo Macpherson said Thursday.
The brothers, who were in their 20s, went to the glacier without guides, Rob Jewell of Fox Glacier Guiding, a private company that takes tourists around the glacier, told National Radio.
Police have not released the brothers' names.
Almost one in three of the 600,000 visitors to the region's two glaciers ignored warning signs and entered danger zones in 2007, the Department of Conservation said.