An Australian tourist on a commercial whitewater rafting trip died on Saturday after his raft overturned at Skippers Canyon near Queenstown.
According to a statement from the rafting company, Challenge Rafting, the man was being brought back from the far side of the river using a rescue rope after the raft flipped, but he lost his grip.
"He was swept through the next rapid where he was met by the safety kayaker, who helped him navigate the subsequent rapid before assisting him to the shore," it said.
"He became unresponsive, CPR was provided and a defibrillator utilised. The guest received further treatment from paramedics who arrived by helicopter just after 5pm but was unable to be resuscitated."
The man was pronounced dead at the scene and a post-mortem will be conducted today, Otago Daily Times reported.
"We believe everything was done by the book and standard procedure. But the outcome was certainly something we did not expect," Tim Barker, the general manager of Totally Tourism, which owns Challenge Rafting told Radio NZ.
Two other rafts on the same trip did not overturn.
Queenstown Rafting and Challenge Rafting have confirmed they have voluntarily suspended rafting operations until further notice.