The inquest into the deaths of nine people in the Fox Glacier plane disaster two years ago has been told there is “no accountability in New Zealand”
In a letter from the parents of Bradley Coker, a British tourist killed in the crash it was revealed
“There have been without doubt major failings by the Civil Aviation Authority and there were major failings by the aircraft operators.”
It had been flown out of balance and overloaded 75 times, which meant such an accident was an “inevitable certainty”.
They called for law changes to ensure “proper responsibility” to those who were involved, saying there was “no accountability in New Zealand”. Read more source
In an interview given to the BBC in May of this year Bradley’s family told reporters his death was one of many in the adventure tourism sector in New Zealand, one that is perceived to be poorly regulated and with a high accident rate. They gave this advice to viewers:
“To anyone thinking about going to New Zealand on an adrenaline sport think twice, the report is a catalogue of errors from both the CAA and the sky diving company” … regulations “not enforced”… “two of the tandem masters had actually taken controlled drugs before they got on the plane” (cannabis)
In a statement to the BBC, Prime Minister John Key said approximately 50 people had been killed in adventure tourism sector in the last 8 years.
New Zealand a “safe country”
Parents of another deceased tourist, Annika Kirsten due to return nome on 3 October but instead her ashes arrived in an urn on 18 September, also wrote a letter to the inquest
Her parents had encouraged her to travel to New Zealand, thinking it was a safe country.
Since the crash, they had suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome.
“Together, with our daughter, we lost our future, our sense of life and our hope.”
They blamed the CAA for failing to adequately supervise the industry and Skydive New Zealand for acting negligently.
“In the name of our daughter, we ask the responsible people, who are still alive to stand up to their responsibility and to tell the truth about their negligence in the inquest.”
A live streaming broadcast of the inquest may be found here http://www2.justice.govt.nz/courts/coroners-court/courtstreaming.html
New Zealand tourism a catalgoue of disasters and drug taking
The Fox Glacier crash was before the Carterton ballooning tragedy in which 11 people were engulfed in flames. The balloon pilot, Lance Hopping, was later found to have cannabis in his system at the time of his death. Remarkably, two of the jump masters in the skydiving crash were also found to have taken cannabis prior to the flight.
Adventure tourism must learn from NZ crash:
“THE authors of a report criticising aviation regulators following a skydiving plane crash in New Zealand that killed nine people, including two Australians, in 2010 say there are lessons to be learned by all adventure tourism operators.
The modified topdressing plane, carrying four foreign tourists, four tandem jumpers and a pilot, had too much weight in the rear of the plane when it tried to take off on September 4, 2010, causing it to rise very sharply and at too low a speed to be controllable.
NZ Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) investigator Ian McClelland says the plane flew regularly with eight passengers, producing too much weight in the rear of the plane, and the owners and pilot were not checking weight and balance as they should be.
But he also says regulation of adventure aviation was not what it should be, that the modifications to the plane were poorly managed, and discrepancies in the modification documents weren’t picked up by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) when it approved them.
“The CAA lost the opportunity to correct the company’s errors,” Mr McClelland said…” more here
British FCO advice to travellers about New Zealand (May 2011)
“There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors; these also include extreme sporting accidents. If you intend to participate in extreme sports do check that the company is well established in the industry and that your insurance covers you. If you intend visiting remote areas, check with local tourist authorities for advice before setting out. Ensure that you register your details with a Visitor Information Centre or family or friends. Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous in some areas so keep yourself informed of regional weather forecasts.”
“Many tourists safely undertake adventure activities in New Zealand. However, many adventure tourism activities have inherent risks, and there have been a number of serious accidents involving Australians and other tourists, some resulting in deaths. Some operators have been found to be negligent. You should be aware that safety standards in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry may differ between individual operators and may differ from those in Australia.
Travellers need to make their own careful judgements about the risks involved in individual or group activities and of the safety standards of individual operators. We strongly recommend travellers inquire with individual operators about the safety standards adhered to, whether these standards are applied across the industry and the risks involved in the activity. We recommend travellers hold travel insurance and complementary accident or income protection insurance and understand what circumstances and activities are not covered by the policies.”
”I am German and have been in NZ for the past 4-5 years. I completely support this site and strongly confirm these allegatons. NZ has no control or standards and has minimum professionalism or competence…public transport, mobile phone service, administration, hospitals, immigration, you name it…I had it all. NZ is beautiful but things simply do not work. Be careful and and maintain some healthy common sense ’cause you cannot expect it vice versa.”
A”nother dent in NZ’s undeserved international reputation! The word is getting out that New Zealand is a bit lax in the H&S area!
Blogs tagged ‘Adventure Tourism deaths‘ and these posts:
Emily Jordan: Riverboarding Death By Misadventure. Tell Clients The Truth About The Risks. Staff Panicked (May 2011)
Sarah Bond Quad Bike Death – Prosecution Brought (August 2009)
Catherine Peters: Alistair McWhannell Guilty Of Manslaughter In Swing Bridge Death (June 2010)