Two highly qualified jet boat drivers who crashed on the Dart River near Glenorchy were ordered to pay a total of $12,000 when they appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.
Shayle Andrew Thompson, 39, and Simon Thomas Collins, 27, of Cromwell, were each ordered to pay $3000 emotional harm reparation and fined $3000 by Judge Kevin Phillips for operating a ship on the Dart River in a manner that caused unnecessary danger or risk to the occupants on January 4.
The court was told the men's careers in the commercial jet boating industry were effectively over after the crash, about 2km upstream of the river mouth.
Thompson failed to keep to the right and Collins, who was carrying passengers for Dart River Jet Safaris, failed to give way to the downstream boat.
As the two boats rapidly approached some of the passengers thought it was part of a display.
An American woman tourist suffered a broken collarbone and others were bruised when the boats crashed.
Collins's boat was heading upstream with 11 passengers and the other, heading downstream, contained only the driver, Thompson.
"I find you had a very high duty of care, you were driving large powerful boats. You, Collins, had passengers. You have totally let your industry, your employers and yourselves down," the judge said.
Maritime New Zealand lawyer Brent Stanaway said it was an extraordinary situation for two jet boats to collide in the middle of a river channel.
Both drivers were, to a degree, at fault and there was little point in splitting hairs regarding responsibility, he said.
Lawyer Dale Lloyd, representing Thompson, said her client's career was over and the loss suffered by the injured passenger was recognised.
The pair are no longer employed by Dart River Jet Safaris and no charges were laid against the company.
- © Fairfax NZ News