9 Dec 2008

Climbing victim's family thank rescue team

3:09 pm on 9 December 2008

The family of the Japanese mountaineer who died on Aoraki-Mount Cook in the Southern Alps has thanked the rescue team that tried to save him.

In a statement, Kiyoshi Ikenouchi's family said they deeply appreciated the efforts of the rescue team over several days of atrocious weather.

They said the 49-year-old was an experienced and cautious mountaineer who loved New Zealand, and they were shocked by his death.

Mr Ikenouchi died on Friday, just hours before rescuers managed to reach the climbers.

The climbers had been stranded 3700 metres up the mountainside for a week.

His companion, Hideaki Nara, 51, who survived, thanked those involved in the rescue at a media conference in Christchurch on Monday.