French tourists get 'bollocking' over safety

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2012

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Two French tourists were given a "bollocking" yesterday from Te Anau police after failing to observe safety practices and ignoring weather conditions. Senior Constable Alan Johnston, of Te Anau, said the tourists were not wearing lifejackets and were attempting the crossing in two small plastic kayaks near Te Anau Downs.

A stiff southerly also made conditions on the lake tricky, he said.

A skipper on a Real Journeys boat contacted police and advised that two kayakers appeared to be on the water without lifejackets, Mr Johnston said.

It was important that people on the water, especially those not from the area, followed safe and sensible boating practices, he said.

Tourism operators and residents in Te Anau could be used as sources of information about lake conditions. Mr Johnston said there had already been one tragedy on Lake Te Anau recently and no-one wanted to see another.

The body of Italian man Luca Ruffato was found in Brod Bay on December 22, with police saying the death could have been avoided if Mr Ruffato had been better acquainted with the area's weather and the state of his equipment.

It was expected that there would be plenty of activity on lakes Te Anau and Manapouri in the coming days and police would be liaising with Environment Southland to ensure boaties and people on the lakes did the right thing, Mr Johnston said.

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