After the shocking revelation that Lance Hopping, the pilot involved in the Carterton Ballooning tragedy in which 11 people died, was found with cannabis in his system we’re asking how widespread is the use of this illegal drug in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry, and how much of a factor does it play in the industry’s high accident rate?
Yesterday a report into the Fox Glacier Sky Dive NZ crash also found that two of the jump masters were also found to be under the influence of cannabis.
We think its time for New Zealand to require mandatory drug and alcohol testing for everyone employed in the adventure tourism industry. With more frequent testing of people involved in high risk activities where operator error may lead to serious consequences for thrill seekers.
Additionally, drug and alcohol testing must be carried out on operators immediately after an accident or fatality.
If New Zealand’s reputation as a safe tourism destination is have any degree of credibility the government will take this issue seriously and deal with it swiftly to allay public concerns.
“Balloon crash pilot had smoked cannabis – report
The pilot of January’s balloon tragedy in Carterton was flying with cannabis in his system when he crashed, killing all 11 people on board.
Toxicology tests performed on the body of Lance Hopping, 53, four days after the crash returned positive for cannabis, with the discovery described as “concerning” by investigators.
The findings were part of an interim report issued by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) this morning, four months after the balloon struck powerlines, caught fire and crashed into a field on January 7…
…yesterday TAIC called for an alcohol and drug testing regime to be implemented for people performing activities critical to flight safety, after announcing that two tandem skydive masters had smoked cannabis before a Skydive New Zealand plane crashed after takeoff from Fox Glacier in September 2010.
While this morning’s report contains a number of details about what happened on the day, it includes no analysis of those facts, nor any recommendations or key lessons to be learned from the crash.
Instead those findings would be reserved for TAIC’s final report due in March next year.
The families of the victims were briefed on the report last month, and it is understood several people have had drafts of the report for weeks, including the balloon company owners, members of Hopping’s ground crew, and his fiancee Nina Kelynack.”
New Zealand has highest cannabis use
According to data compiled by the site Nationmaster.com New Zealand has the highest rate of cannabis use:
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