British TV director Caroline Johnstone dies after falling off cliff in New Zealand

She slipped on ice and tumbled 500ft while snowboarding

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The Independent Online

A British television director fell to her death in New Zealand while snowboarding, it has been reported.

Caroline Johnstone, 44, had slipped past warning signs in a bid to retrieve a snowboard when she lost her footing on ice and tumbled 500ft over a cliff edge, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Ms Johnstone, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1999, was on holiday at the Whakapapa ski resort on the North Island with her civil partner Chrissie Lahood when the accident occurred on Saturday afternoon

Ms Lahood had been waiting for Ms Johnstone in the resort car park at the time of the accident on Saturday.

Constable Conrad Smith of National Park police said that Ms Johnstone had made a tragic decision to look for the board after she lost it.

"She has gone past warning signs and danger signs to look for her board, and she has fallen off a cliff," he said.

"It's very sad."

She is understood to have worked for the BBC before starting a freelance career in New Zealand, working on television shows.

Tributes to the director poured in on Facebook.

A former colleague from her time working in the UK said: "A lot of her old friends at the BBC in London have been shocked to hear the news. We have such fond memories of Caroline's wonderful joy of life. It is so very cruel. Our thoughts are with you."

Ms Johnstone's father Alfie has flown from his home in south London for the funeral.