Johnathan Armour, Emily Jordan’s boyfriend (see today gave evidence via video link from the UK to the court hearing in New Zealand. He criticised the safety briefing given to the couple prior to their river boarding experience, saying if he’d been better informed about the possible dangers he wouldn’t have gone. According to the Otago Daily Times a guide on the trip and Mad Dog Operations manager Nicholas Kendrick told the court
“he had been through the rapid, where Ms Jordan was stuck, about 2000 times and there had never been an issue with being trapped.When asked if they should have given people more information about the dangers of being entrapped, Mr Kendrick said they did not want to scare people about to go on a trip.
The safety briefings gave people as much information as they needed to know while providing guides with an opportunity to assess people’s abilities.
“We tell clients it is a full-on activity and the river is a dangerous place,” Mr Kendrick said.
The guides made sure the clients were paying attention – “we make them take off their sunglasses . . . no talking . . . we make sure they are listening,” he said.
“Throughout the training process we are trying to motivate clients so they have the right mindset to attack the rapids,” he said.
“[We tell them] positive actions they can do and not scare them with the dangers.”
There had been a waiver raising a possibility of injury, death or damage to personal property and at least three safety briefings.
But Mr Armour said the tone had not been serious and there was no indication that should anyone be entrapped, rescue was not assured, nor were they told methods to get out of entrapment.”
Anne Nichols, american woman who’d also been on the also gave evidence and
said the the guides’ manner had made some of the serious information seem like jokes.
Despite previous whitewater rafting experience, Ms Nichols said the trip was “uncomfortable” and “dangerous”.
When asked by defence counsel Michael Parker if she made the judgement with “the benefit of hindsight”, Ms Nichols said she could have told him after the first rapid.
Ms Jordan had been confident in water, Mr Armour said.
However, she fell off her board after the second rapid and he helped her back on just before the Frogz Eddy rapid where she died.
Mr Armour indicated they drifted further left than instructed and a guide pushed him back to the right hand side of the rock.
When looking back for Ms Jordan he instead saw an “unmanned board” on the left side of the rock and a hand above the water.
Mr Kendrick said there had been a lengthy attempt to dislodge Ms Jordan who was wedged, possibly in a crevice, around her chest.
During that time, the lead on her wrist snapped and when they grabbed her lifejacket it came off.
After a Serious Fun River Surfing group arrived and a rope was obtained, six guides from both companies managed to tie it around her arm and after about another five minutes, Ms Jordan was freed.
However, she could not be resuscitated.