Off-duty Australian police officer Nathan Deutschbein killed in Mt Cook avalanche

The hiker killed after an avalanche on Aoraki/Mt Cook was off-duty Australian police officer Nathan Deutschbein. 

Senior Constable Deutschbein, 40 , was a prominent officer at the New South Wales (NSW), Blue Mountain Police Area Command, NSW police confirmed to Newshub. 

NSW and New Zealand police have offered support and condolences to Mr Deutschbein's wife and family. His death has been refered to the Coroner. 

Two hikers were caught in the avalanche when it struck the Eugenie Glacier, just below the Footstool mountain peak, at 1:30pm on Thursday. 

One person escaped with minor injuries, and New Zealand police say a third hiker stayed behind at the Sefton Bivouac hut.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Aoraki/Mt Cook Operations Manager Brent Swanson says the climbers heeded advice by local staff that the avalanche risk was moderate. 

The small 20-metre wide avalanche travelled for 300m, pushing the climbers into a crevasse which made a rescue difficult, Mr Swanson says. 

A helicopter couldn't land so a DOC staff member on a fixed-line recovered the injured climber and the deceased. 

The avalanche comes just over a month after two mountain guides died in an avalanche on Mt Hicks.

Martin Hess, 50, and Wolfgang Maier, 58, were killed after becoming caught in the avalanche when it struck Mt Hicks on the western side of Aoraki/Mt Cook in October.

The lone survivor - Jo Morgan, wife of entrepreneur and former politician Gareth Morgan - managed to dig herself out and was rescued.