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Climbers missing in NZ Alps -

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ELEANOR HALL: To the drama in the New Zealand Alps and as Prime Minister Helen Clark fails to save
her long time friend and mountain guide during an annual skiing holiday, six more climbers are
reportedly in trouble.

There are concerns for the safety of a party of climbers believed to be Australians in the Mount
Cook National Park.

The climbers set off an emergency beacon last night as New Zealand correspondent, Kerri Ritchie,
reports.

KERRI RITCHIE: Information is sketchy about the six climbers, stranded in the Mount Cook National
Park in the centre of the South Island.

New Zealand media is reporting that the climbers are Australian. The weather bureau has issued an
avalanche warning for the area.

Steve Schreiber works for the Mountain Safety Council in the area.

STEVE SCHRIEBER: The parties are somewhere on the Annette Plateau outside of Mount Cook village.
That they triggered an E-Perp (phonetic) signal to get some help. The search and rescue team is
engaged in the process but conditions are unflyable at the moment.

KERRI RITCHIE: The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has had her own unfolding dramas on the
Alps, while taking her annual holiday.

Her long time friend and mountain guide Gottlieb Braun-Elwert died yesterday afternoon.

The 59-year-old mountain guide had been taking Miss Clark on skiing and climbing trips in New
Zealand and around the world for 11 years.

Yesterday afternoon, as Miss Clark, her husband and two Cabinet Ministers walked through the
stunning Two Thumbs Ranges in New Zealand's Southern Alps, Mr Braun-Elwert began to feel unwell.

They returned to their hut and half an hour later he collapsed from a suspected heart attack.

Miss Clark and four others began CPR. They continued for two hours until ambulance officers told
them there was no point continuing.

Dave Crow is from the New Zealand Mountain Guides Organisation:

DAVE CROW: They did an incredible job of trying to resuscitate him. They worked on him for over two
hours. There are a party of around four of five and, you know, so they did a huge job working as a
team to try and bring him back around.

KERRI RITCHIE: Those inside the hut say Miss Clark remained calm but afterwards she was very
distressed about her friend's death.

The Prime Minister stayed in the hut with her friend's body for four hours until help arrived.

Around 11pm last night New Zealand time, she drove herself out of the snow in a four wheel drive.
She wanted to visit the guide's widow.

Anne Braun-Elwert gave an interview to Radio New Zealand this morning, saying she appreciated Helen
Clark's efforts to reach her.

ANNE BRAUN-ELWERT: Yes she did. She made a special effort to come out in the dark last night and
probably a bit scary coming down the mountain in the snow, partially on a ski-doo.

KERRI RITCHIE: The Prime Minister spent many hours at the home offering support.

ANNE BRAUN-ELWERT: You would call her a pet client she's probably the client that has been with us
the most frequently, regularly, almost every year.

KERRI RITCHIE: Gottlieb Braun-Elwert was a key member of New Zealand's climbing community, and
according to his wife had lived an amazing life.

He had climbed Mount Cook in the South Island 26 times. In the 1980s he climbed all of New
Zealand's peaks over 3,000 metres in one winter.

His widow can't believe he's dead.

ANNE BRAUN-ELWERT: We just celebrated 30 years of marriage in January this year and I thought to
myself, these crusty old mountain guides they, you know, can live until they're 90 so I thought we
had another 30 years together.

KERRI RITCHIE: The remaining members of the group were evacuated by helicopter this morning. The
body was also taken flown out.

Gottlieb Braun-Elwert will be sadly missed by those who knew him. In an interview he gave to
Television New Zealand a few years ago, he spoke of his love for New Zealand's outdoors.

GOTTLIEB BRAUN-ELWERT: When I'm up here I know where north is on the compass. I have to be here. I
can't live without the mountains.

ELEANOR HALL: Gottlieb Braun-Elwert speaking there a few years ago in an interview with Television
New Zealand.

Kerri Ritchie with that report.