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2 climbers die after 2 nights on NZealand mountain

October 28, 2013

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Two climbers died on a mountain in New Zealand after being trapped for two nights in high winds, police said Monday.

Japanese Hiroki Ogawa, 31, and Nicole Sutton, 29, of New Zealand, were part of a group of climbers who reached the summit of Mount Taranaki on Saturday before encountering bad weather on the descent, police said.

Two other climbers in the group made it to safety after spending one night on the mountain.

Ogawa and Sutton dug themselves into the snow as best they could and had been texting police until Sunday night. But poor conditions prevented rescuers from reaching the pair until early Monday morning.

Police said that Sutton was still alive when rescuers reached them but soon became unresponsive.

Poor conditions forced rescuers to leave the bodies on the mountain Monday. They plan to try to recover them Tuesday.

Sutton’s parents told reporters that Sutton and Ogawa were in a relationship and they thought they might one day marry.

Ogawa was a research fellow at the University of Auckland’s School of Environment.

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