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Company In Regulatory Vacuum When Tourist Drowned: Witness

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 19 NZPA - The Queenstown company British tourist Emily Jordan was river boarding when she drowned was operating in a regulatory vacuum regarding safety requirements, a court was told today.

The 21-year-old woman drowned after she got trapped under a rock in April last year while river boarding on a modified wakeboard in the Kawarau River.

Mad Dog River Boarding and its director, Brad McLeod, have each denied three charges laid by Maritime New Zealand under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

In his second day in the witness box, Mad Dog River Boarding then-operations manager Nicholas Kendrick told Queenstown District Court the company was operating without specific governing regulations, as they hadn't yet been created.

The company was, however, bound by its safety operation plan (SOP), which it was required to submit to get a resource consent to use the river, Radio New Zealand reported.

The SOP submitted to police after Ms Jordan's death was substantially different from the one included in Mad Dog's earlier application, approved by the council.

The company had dropped the mandatory requirement for guides to hold external swift water rescue training.

Instead, the company had conducted its own in-house training that better reflected what the company was doing on the river, Mr Kendrick said.

Other large omissions in the safety information presented to police after Ms Jordan's death were due to typing error, he said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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