The surviving climber is shaken and very traumatised says Constable Carl Pedersen, after his two companions fell to their deaths after an ascent of Mt Cook yesterday.
The three climbers were all members of a climbing club in Japan and had known each other for about four years.
Yesterday the three were returning from climbing Mt Cook when the rock they were all anchored to gave way. This appeared to have started a rock fall. The 31 year old woman was in the process of abseiling down and her 53 year old and 28 year old male companions were above her.
It appears that a falling rock sliced off the survivor's strap which saved him from being pulled down, says Constable Pedersen.
The other two fell about 450-500 metres.
The 28 year old survivor descended straightaway and went for help, reaching Plateau Hut around 1am this morning.
He has made it clear he does not wish to talk with media,
There are no further details as to identity.