21 Mar 2009

Outdoor pursuit operators urged to tighten safety after canyon deaths

3:37 pm on 21 March 2009

Adventure tourism operators are being urged to take a critical look at their health and safety systems following the Mangatepopo canyon tragedy.

The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuit Centre was ordered in the Auckland District Court on Friday to pay $480,000 in reparation and fines for failing to ensure the safety of a group from Elim Christian College.

Six students and their teacher drowned when they were caught in a flash flood in the Mangatepopo Gorge, near Turangi, on 15 April last year.

The centre had previously pleaded guilty to two charges relating to failing to keeping the students safe.

The Department of Labour says it hopes other operators will take precautions to ensure their clients are never put in a similar situation.

It intends to hold talks with the industry to promote increased safety awareness and tighter risk management.