Person found dead after jump from Wellington Harbour crane

3:16 pm on 26 January 2024
The Hikitia floating crane in Wellington.

The Hikitia floating crane in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

A person has been found dead after jumping from a crane in Wellington Harbour.

The vintage crane is on a boat which is permanently moored at the waterfront.

The incident was reported to police at 12.45pm and the person was found dead in the water at 2.35pm by the police dive squad.

A rāhui will be put in place with details yet to be confirmed.

Enquires into the circumstances of the incident will be undertaken, police said in a statement.

In 2015, the death of a man who jumped off the crane prompted its owners, Maritime Heritage Trust, to look at ways to prevent copycat incidents.

Water Safety New Zealand said the person's death recalled two prior deaths from the same crane in 2015 and 1996, both involving young men.

"The recent tragedy is a heart-wrenching reminder of the critical importance of water safety," chief executive Daniel Gerrard said.

"Our thoughts are with their friends and whānau during this incredibly sad time."

The deaths highlighted the risks associated with unauthorised and unsupervised jumping activities, he said.

Wellington Maritime Heritage trustee Malcolm Mcgregor told Checkpoint the highest point of the crane was 32 metres above the water.

The 97-year-old steam-powered ship crane, the Hikitia, has an access point near the wharf. So, "any determined people could swim to it, or walk across," he said.

There was a 'no authorised entry' security notice outside and there were about six or eight functioning surveillance cameras, he said, "and we're adding another couple".

A Z Manu World Championship event, aiming to promote safety in popular water sports, was due to begin this afternoon with further events taking place over the weekend at the Taranaki Street jump platform, near the crane.

Today's event has been cancelled.

Saturday and Sunday events will take place at the Wellington regional aquatic centre in Kilbirnie, from 10am till 5pm.