Hired jetboat sunk in river

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013

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A jetboat used to help oversee work on the maintenance of the bridges at Kurow over the Waitaki River sank during a recent inspection.

The 132-year-old twin bridges are undergoing maintenance before the $18 million replacement project begins next month, but subcontractors Downer recently lost the jetboat.

New Zealand Transport Agency's state highways operations manager Peter Connors said the hired boat hit an "unknown object" while clearing debris.

"The jetboat operator allowed the boat to drift on to an adjacent island where he and his passenger got off the vessel before it sank. There were no lost-time injuries as a result of the incident. The cause of the damage to the boat has not been established," Mr Connors said.

He said the NZTA was yet to decide whether it needed to refer the incident to the Department of Labour or Maritime NZ.

"The safety of our employees and our contractors is of paramount importance to the NZTA in all its activities. There have been no lost-time injuries during maintenance work on the Kurow Bridges in the last year.

"We cannot confirm whether the jetboat complied with new regulations although have been advised the boat was in sound condition."

*Edited to insert "no lost-time".

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- The Timaru Herald

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