Topec is to be sentenced tomorrow more than a year after an instructor and two students were swept to their deaths in high seas during a traverse of Paritutu rock.
Bryce Jourdain, 42, Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye, 17, of New Plymouth and Felipe Melo, 17, a Brazilian exchange student, died in massive seas while the group was attempting a rock traverse of Paritutu rock on August 8 last year.
The remainder of the students left clinging to the rock were winched to safety by the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter crew.
One student who also ended up in the sea was able to scramble to safety.
Days later Felipe's body was found near the New Plymouth Power Station outlet but despite an extended search neither of the other two bodies were found.
In February Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
The charges include:
■ Failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee Bryce Jourdain;
■ Failing to ensure a German volunteer instructor was not exposed to the hazards caused by high and powerful seas; and
■ Failing to ensure no action or inaction of its employee harmed any other person.
A fourth charge - that no hazard, in this case high and powerful seas, harmed participants who paid to undertake the activity - was dropped.
Each charge carried a maximum fine of $250,000.
Four years ago when 6 students from Auckland's Elim Christian School and a teacher drowned while canyoning in the Mangatepopo Gorge, the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre was ordered to pay $480,000 in both fines and reparation to the families of the victims and the survivors under the same legislation.
Tomorrow's sentencing is set down for 10am in the New Plymouth District Court before Judge Gerard Lynch.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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