Two commercial jet-boat drivers who collided on the Dart
River near Queenstown, injuring a passenger, have each been
fined $3000 and ordered to pay reparation of $3000 to the
Simon Thomas Collins (27), of Cromwell, and Shayle Andrew
Thompson (39), of Queenstown, were sentenced by Judge Kevin
Phillips in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.
The victim, an air hostess from the United States, had her
collarbone broken in the January incident.
Collins and Thompson were working for Dart River Jet Safaris
at the time, and both pleaded guilty to a charge of causing
unnecessary risk or danger.
Collins had more than 2000 hours' experience and was
travelling upstream with 11 passengers when he collided with
Thompson, who had more than 4000 hours' experience and was
travelling alone down the river after dropping off a group.
The drivers could not explain why they collided on a wide
section of the river in good visibility.
Judge Phillips said mistakes in the industry resulted in
''All of us who have had some history with the waterways in
this area know the tragedies that have repeated themselves
due to very small errors of judgement by operators. You've
totally let your industry, your employer and yourselves
down,'' he said.
Collins and Thompson lost their jobs with Dart River Jet
Safaris and did not expect to work in the industry again.
They were remorseful, their lawyers said.
Judge Phillips said it was vital for operators to abide by
''Thompson, you were required to keep to the right. Collins,
you were required to give way to the boat on the
The victim had to stop work because of her injury and relied
on her husband's care.
Maritime New Zealand brought the charges against Collins and
Outside the court, Maritime New Zealand compliance manager
(south) David Billington said the sentences reflected the
need for those working in the adventure tourism industry to
make safety their main priority.