28 Jun 2012

Cooks snorkelling death prompts review

3:30 pm on 28 June 2012

The head of Cook Islands Tourism, Carmel Beattie, says a New Zealand coroner's report into the death of a New Zealand man snorkelling in Aitutaki Lagoon is a call for action.

The coroner found the 37 year old diabetic man died from drowning and cardiac arrhythmia brought on by physical exertion.

He also found the snorkelling operator did not meet basic safety procedures.

Ms Beattie says tourism operators cannot assume that everyone is as familiar with the water as they are.

She says Cook Islands Tourism is just about to introduce an upgraded accreditation system with a checklist for operators.

"This is a tragic accident that happened three years ago that affected everybody, and affected everybody from the point of view not just about the sadness of losing somebody, losing one of our visitors but also as a call to action to say alright we have to think about this. Not everybody can swim or is used to the water like us."

The man who died was on his honeymoon and snorkelling with his wife on a Bishop's Lagoon Cruise tour which is owned by the Minister of Tourism, Teina Bishop.