Tourist falls on Whale Island and dies

12:16 pm on 8 April 2019

A tourist has fallen and later died on a guided tour on Whale Island in Bay of Plenty, and all tour operations have been suspended.

White Island Tours said the 73-year-old man was airlifted to Tauranga Hospital on 4 April and died from injuries a day later.

Worksafe and the Department of Conservation, which looks after tracks on the island, also known as Moutohorā Island, have both launched investigations into what happened.

White Island Tours, which is owned by Ngāti Awa Group Holdings, said it was cooperating fully and would take part in any coronial inquiry.

Its chairman, Paul Quinn, said it was looking to see what support it could provide to the family of the tourist.

"We are all deeply saddened and devastated by this tragic accident and we send our thoughts and aroha to the deceased whānau," he said.

"Until the Worksafe and DOC investigations are complete, we are unfortunately not able to make any further public comment on the incident."

Moutohorā Island is uninhabited and sits about 9km off the coast of Whakatāne.

White Island Tours is the only registered provider to operate tours there and it takes small groups, up to 12 people to visit every day.

The company said that is subject to "weather and demand".

All tours on the island have been stopped while investigations are ongoing.