Search begins for US skydiver at Lake Wakatipu

  • 15/01/2018
The Police National Dive Squad is due to start work on finding and recovering the body of American tourist Tyler Nii in Lake Wakatipu.
The Police National Dive Squad is due to start work on finding and recovering the body of American tourist Tyler Nii in Lake Wakatipu. Photo credit: Getty

The Police National Dive Squad is due to start work on finding and recovering the body of American tourist Tyler Nii in Lake Wakatipu.

The 27-year-old from California plunged into the lake with his tandem skydiving instructor last Wednesday. The jumpmaster survived and Mr Nii is presumed to have drowned.

The Wellington-based police divers travelled to Queenstown on Sunday and are due to start work on Monday.

Police have said the divers would assess conditions and the viability of using sonar equipment to help locate Mr Nii's body.

His mother Nancy Nii told the NZ Herald it was a tough time for the family.

"We are hoping to go to the lake and praying that we will be able to bring Tyler back home with us, so we can start our healing process. We have no idea what to do other than that," she said.

Mr Nii worked as a tennis coach for kids in the San Francisco Bay area.

A police spokeswoman has said the lake may be from 250m to 400m deep and the dive squad can't reach such depths.

Queenstown's harbourmaster Marty Black has also said the water was very cold and 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 reported.

Queenstown-based NZONE have resumed operations.

NZN