Two French tourists drown in New Zealand lake

7th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two French nationals drowned when their kayak capsized in rough conditions on a New Zealand lake, police said Tuesday.

Police said the two men aged in their 20s, who have not been named, made a mobile phone call to a tourism operator late Monday saying they were in trouble on Lake Wakatipu, near the South Island tourist centre of Queenstown.

A rescue helicopter equipped with night-vision equipment was scrambled and found the men's bodies in the early hours of Tuesday morning, police said.

They said winds of up to 30 knots had been blowing up the lake, whipping up steep swells of more than a metre (three feet).

Queenstown harbour master Marty Black said the tourism operator who took the call from the men had earlier warned them to "get the hell off the lake" because conditions were so dangerous.

"They didn't follow advice and it's a message we want to get out over this," Black told Radio New Zealand.

"The southern lakes are dangerous, they are cold, you don't last long. Listen to local people and heed advice. They didn't."

© 2010 AFP

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