Mortgage Choice brokerage director, Dean Higgins, has died in the Tibetan Himalayas after saving the lives of his wife and two companions trapped in an avalanche.
Higgins, husband of well-known South Australian broker, Wendy Higgins, along with two friends, had been sleeping in a tent on the side of a mountain when an avalanche covered their campsite on Monday night, according to The Australian.
It is believed that 116 people were rescued from the disaster and that three others, understood to be locals, died.
A fellow broker and friend of the couple, Keith Caine, told reporters that Dean Higgins spent six hours digging his wife and friends out of the ice, rock and snow, in the pitch-dark, before dying of hypothermia.
"He ended up saving everyone else but he was only wearing a T-shirt and he was unable to save himself, he died of hypothermia," says Caine.
The Higginses and their two companions faced an eight-hour trek down the mountain to the nearest town in order to reach medical help. While Dean attempted the journey on foot, he had to be carried part way down due to overwhelming exhaustion. Dean Higgins is said to have been alive at the bottom, but passed away soon after.
Wendy Higgins has owned the franchise for 15 years and has won numerous industry accolades, including this year’s MPA Number One Franchise Brokerage in Australia.
Dean Higgins was a Mortgage Choice director and supported his wife in the franchise, including with paperwork, payrolls and salaries.
"He was a great support for Wendy," says Caine. "He died a hero - he's sadly missed."
The couple have a daughter, Sara, 25. They left Australia on October 2 and were due to return on Friday.
A Mortgage Choice spokesperson tells Australian Broker the group has set up an internal registry for brokers to send their condolences, but that a public registry is not likely at this stage.
The details of the funeral will be advised at a later date.