New York Student, 21, Dies on New Zealand Kayak Trip: Police

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Reuters

An American student was one of two tourists killed during a kayaking trip to New Zealand, officials said Saturday.

Daniel Thomas Hollnsteiner, 21, from New York and James Robert Murphy, 20, from London, were members of a party of 11 students who got into difficulty while kayaking on Lake Tekapo in the South Island, local police confirmed.

Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin told local media that winds picked up on the lake during Friday afternoon and water swamped the students' kayaks.

"It's extremely savage, very, very cold, the winds get up very quickly and from what I understand a strong northeasterly wind came up, came up the lake. It was totally unexpected, it was blowing approximately 20 knots which is reasonably strong and all the boats got swamped and they got tipped out," said Gaskin.

Local volunteers and emergency workers managed to rescue the other nine members from the group of 11 who had all been wearing life jackets at the time, local media reported.

Both the victims were studying at Monash University in Australia.

Police say it's too early to determine the students' exact cause of death, but say the air and water temperature were about three degrees Celsius and all of the survivors were suffering various degrees of hypothermia.

Both deaths have been referred to the coroner, police confirmed.