Faulty gear likely cause of skier's death - coroner

BRITTANY MANN
Last updated 10:40 13/08/2014
Magnus Kastengren
TYRONE LOW
Magnus Kastengren in Mt Cook National Park a week before his death.

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The reason for a fall that killed a Swedish skier on Aoraki/Mt Cook cannot be established with certainty, the coroner has found.

However, faulty ski bindings were more likely to blame than a lapse in judgment from the experienced skier.

Magnus Kastengren and his friend Carl Fransson were traversing Aoraki's summit ridge, intending to descend the northwest Caroline face in November 2013.

Within minutes, Kastengren lost control of his skis and fell 600 metres to his death.

He died of "high energy impact injuries to head, chest and abdominal organs", Coroner David Crerar found.

According to senior mountain guide Geoffrey Wayatt, the pair had a "world class reputation" for their skiing skills and were in "excellent fitness."

In a blog, Fransson described the terrain as "easy to ski for anyone of our experience".

"In fact, it was one of the easiest things we had done in the whole trip".

However, Crerar said the terrain still presented "great objective danger".

A lapse in Kastengren's was a possibility, though it was remote, he said.

"The slightest misjudgement in such terrain exposes a skier to substantial (fatal) consequences," he said.

Crerar found that faulty ski bindings were more likely to blame, as Kastengren fell within minutes of the traverse.

However, there was no evidence for this, as Kastengren's skis could not be recovered.

Crerar recommended skiers regularly check and replace their critical equipment, and double-check it with a buddy before high-risk activities.

"Extreme skiing requires ability, experience, passion and courage," Crerar said.

"Magnus Kastengren possessed all of these attributes. His death, however, is an indication of the very real dangers involved in the chosen pastime."

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