14 Mar 2017

Skipper pleads guilty over passenger drowning

1:35 pm on 14 March 2017

A Taranaki skipper has admitted causing the death of a passenger on his boat.

East Beach residents say the Taranaki Regional Council's "half-tide wall" is directing storm surges towards their homes.

The beach at Waitara. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The Waitara boatie, who has interim name suppression, was due to stand trail on a manslaughter charge, but changed his plea to guilty last month.

52-year-old Hamilton man Erka Xu died after a wave struck the four metre inflatable boat the men were in, capsizing it offshore from Waitara in July 2015.

A surfer rescued the 59-year-old skipper but Mr Xu was found floating face down in the water.

Neither man was wearing a lifejacket.

Police said the skipper failed to take all necessary safety precautions required by law.

He will next appear for a disputed facts hearing on May the 8th.