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21-year-old Kiwi killed in Japan avalanche, Isabella Bolton, remembered

Mar 12, 2024

The family of one of the New Zealanders killed in an avalanche in Japan say she was full of vitality and passion for life.

Authorities had confirmed two New Zealanders were killed while skiing in Japan.

In a statement, the family of Isabella Bolton said she was among the dead.

"It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the passing of our beloved Isabella Bolton, 21, in an avalanche accident in Hokkaido, Japan on Monday 11th March."

They said Bolton was born in England but grew up in Diamond Harbour and Heathcote Valley. She attended Christchurch's Rangi Ruru Girls High School.

Bolton had been working as a ski guide in Niseko since November, having previously worked on ski fields in Canada, Tekapo and Wānaka.

"Isabella was full of vitality and passion for life," her family said.

They said she had an "adventurous spirit and love for skiing and the outdoors".

"Our family would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of her fellow colleague and friend whose life was also tragically lost. And to extend our gratitude to those who tried to save Isabella, and the local authorities."

They asked for privacy to mourn.

Authorities said the other New Zealander was a man in his 30s.

He and Bolton were part of a group of six backcountry skiing in Hokkaido when an avalanche hit.

The Japan Times reports the pair were taken to hospital and were later pronounced dead.

A third person, also a New Zealander, was injured.

The New Zealand Embassy has spoken to the person and has offered consular support as well as the families of those who died.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said following the avalanche, Japanese police had confirmed that two New Zealanders have died.

The avalanche hit three people in a group of six around 10am local time on Monday, the Japan Times reported.

It occurred at an elevation of about 650-700 metres on the northern slope of the 1900 metre high mountain, the report said.

Mt Yotei is in the Hokkaido region, which is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders.

Main image (RNZ/Supplied): Isabella Bolton, 21, died in an avalanche while skiing in Japan. 

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