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Australian man Dean Higgins dies after digging himself out of Everest avalanche

Dean and Wendy Higgins

An Australian man who survived being buried under snow for six hours following an avalanche on Mount Everest has died.

Dean Higgins, 60, managed to dig himself and his wife, Wendy, out after the avalanche struck on Tuesday.

Julie Mahony, a family friend, says the couple took about eight hours to get to the bottom of the mountain where Mr Higgins died.

Chinese state media says three Tibetans also died.

Ms Mahony says she has spoken to Mrs Higgins about her ordeal.

"They were under the snow for about six hours and Dean dug them out of the snow," she said.

"They had to get down the mountain to safety and that took approximately eight hours. We're not exactly sure what happened but he was alive until they got down the bottom."

The Department of Foreign Affairs says consular officials from the Australian Embassy in Beijing have been in contact with Ms Higgins.

The couple operated a Mortgage Choice franchise at Glenelg and were on an adventure holiday in Tibet.

A work colleague has told the ABC that Ms Higgins is physically fine after the ordeal.