Jetboat drivers charged

Last updated 14:00 24/07/2013

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Two jet boat drivers previously employed by a Queenstown firm have been charged by Maritime New Zealand after a crash in January.

Maritime New Zealand launched an investigation after the January 4 crash, in which two Dart River Jet Safaris boats collided near Glenorchy.

No major injuries were suffered but two people were taken to hospital. One had a broken collarbone and others were bruised.

The company said Maritime New Zealand had laid two charges under the Maritime Transport Act against two drivers, who were charged with causing unnecessary risk or danger to those on board through their actions.

They are no longer employed by the Ngai Tahu-owned company.

Dart River Jet Safaris regional manager David Kennedy said the company very much regretted that people were injured because the health and safety of passengers and staff was the "utmost priority" for the company.

"We continuously strive to monitor and improve where necessary our extensive health and safety systems,'' Mr Kennedy said.

Company drivers completed a minimum of 120 hours' training before being allowed to carry passengers.

The incident happened about 2km upstream from the Dart River mouth.

Two people in a 13-passenger boat were taken to hospital and the second boat was not carrying any passengers.

Mr Kennedy said he was not able to discuss any other details because the matter was before the court.

No charges have been laid against the company, which offers scenic and thrill trips by jet boat into the Dart River valley and Mt Aspiring National Park.

The matter will be dealt with on July 29 in Queenstown District Court.

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- The Southland Times

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