4 Mar 2016

Skipper pleads not guilty over passenger drowning

11:56 am on 4 March 2016

A Waitara man has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of a passenger on his boat who drowned off the Taranaki coast last year.

Erka Xu was a passenger on a 4m inflatable last July when a wave struck the boat, capsizing it offshore from Waitara.

A surfer paddled out and pulled the skipper back on board, but Mr Xu was found floating face down and unconscious in the water.

Neither of the men were wearing lifejackets.

The 58-year-old skipper appeared in the High Court at New Plymouth this morning.

Police say he failed to take all necessary safety precautions required by law.

The man has interim name suppression. He will reappear in court next month.