Deceased Canadian Tourist Was Rugby Referee; Dolphin Watch Collision In Marlborough Sounds

The tourist killed in yesterday’s jet boat crash in Tauranga Harbour has been named as 63 year old Canadian tourist Richard Evans.
Richard Evans, who had been holidaying in New Zealand with his wife, was a highly regarded rugby team manager having been a been a top class referee for many years before that.

This from British Columbia Rugby:

Richard Evans, a respected referee and colleague of the British Columbia rugby community passed away in a boating accident on Sunday, February 6.
The accident occurred in New Zealand’s Tauranga Harbour, when Evans’ boat collided with a buoy. Details are still being released on the incident.

Dave Pue, head of the BC Rugby Referee’s Society had this to say about Evans, “Richard was an integral member of the Vancouver refereeing community in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He was one of the top referees of his era and renowned for his management of the game as a ‘player’s referee’. After leaving refereeing he stepped into the role of team manager for many touring sides.”

The BC Rugby community sends their condolences to the Evans family in this difficult time.

We’d like to extend our sincere condolences too.

According to news reports there was no speed limit in force in the area that Mr Evans had been boating through. Local Maori have placed a rahui (temporary ban) on Tauranga Harbour for three days. The rahui is a ban on people collecting seafood from Tauranga Harbour during that time.

Unfortunately Mr Evans was the latest in a long line of boating casualties in New Zealand.

Boating Collison

On Saturday there was another boating collision in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. An Outward Bound cutter and a Dolphin Watch Ecotours boat came into contact, leaving one  woman seriously injured and seven others requiring treatment for minor to moderate injuries.

According to a TVNZ news report

“Outward Board (sic) said yesterday it understood that the cutter was stationary at the time of the time of the collision.

Dolphin Watch Ecotours director Glen McNeilly said boat’s skipper had been stood down pending the results of the MNZ investigation.

The skipper, who was a very experienced sailor and a well respected local, was left shaken by the incident, he said.

Police said on Saturday the trainees aboard the cutter saw the Dolphin Watch boat approaching and tried unsuccessfully to alert the skipper it was on a collision course…” full report here

Michael John Lemberg later admitted failing to maintain a proper lookout on the Dolphin Watch Ecotours boat he was skippering.

Judge Zohrab ordered Lemberg, 49, to pay $200 reparation to each of the 12 students on the cutter when it was rammed by the Dolphin Watch boat. None of the 18 people on board the Dolphin Watch boat were injured. Lemberg was also ordered to pay $2000 reparation to Outward Bound.

However, Judge Zohrab stopped short of imposing a fine because of Lemberg’s precarious financial position. He has lost his job since the crash…more here and here (“Trainees’ survival a miracle, crash witness says“)

Dolphin Watch Ecotours’ Run of Bad Luck?

In December an Australian doctor, 49  year old Catherine Carlyle from Adelaide, was flown to hospital with severe lacerations after coming into contact with a boat propeller in Ruakaka Bay, Marlborough Sounds.

Ms Carlyle hit the the boat’s prop as she jumped off the back of the Dolphin Watch Ecotours vessel, sustaining deep lacerations to her legs and a possible fracture.

Before that young American tourist Emily May Parker, from Denver Colorado, was found face down in Marlborough Sound whilst on a tour with “Dolphin Ecowatch Tours” in October 2009.

Other boating ‘accidents’

In November of last year five people were taken to hospital when their Shotover Jet boat collided with a cliff wall near Queenstown, among them were tourists from Germany, the United States and Britain.

In September 2008, Chinese tourist Yan Wang, 42, was killed when a jetboat operated by  Kawarau Jets flipped over in the Shotover River.

Since 1995 the NZ Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC)has investigated at least  20 occurrences involving jet boats.

Three involved high-speed rollovers: one each in 1997, 1998  and 2008.

The Commission made safety recommendations covering the fitment of rollover bars on jet boats operating on braided river systems and the need for accurate recording of passenger numbers on boats to assist emergency services. These three rollover accidents resulted in one fatality, five serious injuries and three minor injuries.

After series of fatal ‘accidents’ (mostly involving tourists) there was a wide ranging review of adventure tourism in New Zealand that found gaps in safety. Following the review  recommendations were made to introduce a registration scheme (not licensing) and mandatory auditing

Subsequently regulations were recently introduced that will require operators to be registered and to undertake regular certificated safety audits.

Unfortunately the new regs don’t take effect until October 2011 after which there will be a  three year long period of grace before all businesses will be required to comply.

You may also find interesting

NZ Adventure firms ‘run by seat of pants’, say critics

Tourists Injured in Queenstown Jet Boat Crash, Another Died Swimming With Dolphins

Safety Gaps Found In Adventure Tourism Review

Adventure Tourism and Safety in NZ – Facts and Stats