A man has died after falling into Crater Lake at Mount Ruapehu.
Emergency services were flown to the scene via helicopter at around 1.50pm on Saturday.
The man was recovered from the lake by members of the group he was with before emergency services arrived.
Iwi have placed a rāhui on the area around Mt Ruapehu until sunrise on Wednesday, September 26.
To show respect, all climbers, trampers and skiers are asked not to go above the boundaries of the ski areas at Whakapapa, Tūroa and Tukino, or above a line 2300m above sea level on the mountain.
Hazel Phillips, who was at Whakapapa as part of a group of ski tourers on Saturday afternoon, witnessed some of the retrieval.
“This is a very sad outcome,” Phillips said.
“Conditions were windy and icy underfoot near the Col and this presents a sliding risk.”
“We also witnessed someone fall while descending Dome, lose his ice axe and thankfully come to a stop on a flat part of the Whakapapa Col. He was badly equipped and not experienced.”
He was lucky to not land in the Crater Lake too, she said.
“With spring conditions softening the snow above the lifts on Ruapehu, this is a high risk time as people who aren’t used to serious alpine conditions begin to venture into unpatrolled and uncontrolled terrain.
“The Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation and the RAL ski patrollers do an incredible job of helping people inside and outside of the back country on our maunga.”
The death will be referred to the Coroner.
Image: SUPPLIED / STUFF