Two climbers, a man and a woman, had called emergency services after getting into difficulties near Trofaiach in southern Austria.
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The helicopter located the couple and the mountain rescue police officer, 28, was lowered from the helicopter to bring them up.
But as all three were being winched up the rope malfunctioned and they fell from a considerable height into a ravine, police spokeswoman Madeleine Heinrich said.
The female climber died while her male companion was seriously injured.
Their names and nationalities have not been announced.
A major rescue operation involving two other helicopters and medical crews was hampered by poor weather and fading daylight.