Lake depth an issue for body recovery

  • 13/01/2018

The depth of Lake Wakatipu is going to make recovery of the body of American tourist Tyler Nii difficult.

The 27-year-old, from California, plunged into Lake Wakatipu with his tandem skydiving instructor on Wednesday and has not been found.

The Wellington-based Police National Dive Squad will arrive in nearby Queenstown over the weekend to assess conditions, as well as the viability of using sonar equipment to find Mr Nii's body.

Police have said the body recovery operation was very complex.

A police spokeswoman says the lake may be anywhere from 250m to 400m deep and the dive squad can't reach such a depth.

Queenstown's harbourmaster Marty Black says the water is very cold in the Kingston arm of the lake, which means the body may not surface naturally.

"The approximate area where he is could be 300m deep," he said.

Mr Nii was on holiday alone in New Zealand before the skydive with NZONE, the Otago Daily Times reports.

Queenstown-based NZONE Skydive has suspended skydiving operations and launched an internal review to assess its protocols.

According to NZONE, the instructor had completed more than 3000 jumps.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has begun a probe into the incident.