6 Feb 2011

Students in boat collision all discharged from hospital

7:07 pm on 6 February 2011

The eight students whose Outward Bound cutter was hit by a tour boat in the Marlborough Sounds on Saturday have been discharged from hospital.

A Dolphin Watch Ecotours boat collided with the Outward Bound cutter in the Marlborough Sounds just after 2pm.

Eight of the 11 students onboard were treated for serious bruising but Outward Bound Trust chief executive Trevor Taylor says it is lucky there were not fatalities when the 13 metre long boat collided with the seven metre cutter.

Mr Taylor says the students, aged from 18 to 30, have been offered counselling and Outward Bound will hold a debrief on Monday morning to discuss what can be done to avoid such an incident happening again.

Three investigations underway

Three investigations are underway to determine who caused the collision that split the Outward Bound boat in two.

Police say the students tried to warn the skipper of the dolphin watch vessel that they were about to collide, but it was too late.

The cutter, a traditional wooden-planked sailing vessel, had been in the water since Outward Bound started in 1962.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission, the Maritime Safety Authority and Occupation Health & Safety are investigating.

Skipper stood down

The skipper of the dolphin watch tour boat that collided with the cutter has been stood down pending the investigation by Maritime New Zealand.

One of the director's of Dolphin Watch Ecotours, Glen McNeilly, says the skipper is a highly qualified mariner and has been shaken by the incident.

Mr McNeilly says the skipper has a commercial masters certificate and is a well-respected person in the community.