Tourist ski instructor found dead

Last updated 11:26 15/10/2012
Elias Hofer
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts
FOUND DEAD: Elias Hofer.

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The absence of a ski instructor whose body was found at Whakapapa skifield went unnoticed for nearly two days.

Police today released the name of the skier whose body was found near the Pinnacles Ridge at Whakapapa skifield on Mt Ruapehu yesterday.

He was Elias Hofer, a 25-year-old Italian ski instructor who was working for Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.

Ruapehu area commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich said Hofer was last seen by staff heading off towards the Pinnacles to go skiing on his own after work on Thursday afternoon.

Hofer had a rostered day off on Friday and on Saturday the skifield was closed due to bad weather.

Consequently his absence was not noticed until midday Saturday when staff saw his ski boots, poles and skis were not in his locker at the skifield, Mastrovich said.

A foot search with police and Ruapehu Alpine Rescue staff was launched on Saturday but without success.

On Sunday a helicopter search and rescue party located Hofer's body near the head of the Wairere Stream on the east side of the Pinnacles in the late afternoon.

His body was recovered and has been transferred to Waikato Hospital for an autopsy.

Hofer's parents have been notified through the Italian Consulate in Wellington.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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