Jet-boat hits rock

Maritime New Zealand is investigating an incident in which a Shotover Jet boat hit a rock in the Shotover River yesterday.

The company temporarily suspended operations after ''a boat came into contact with a rock'' during the 10am trip, Shotover Jet said in a statement.

Marketing manager Nigel Kerr said nine passengers and the driver were on board at the time.

No injuries were reported.

''In keeping with standard reporting protocols, the company has contacted Maritime New Zealand in relation to the incident and Queenstown Lakes District harbourmaster Marty Black has been on site to inspect the boat.''

Operations resumed at 2.30pm yesterday.

Mr Black declined to comment when contacted.

MNZ spokesman Steve Rendell said an officer from Southland would travel to the resort to carry out the investigation.

Passengers spoke of being left shaken by the incident.

It is understood after hitting the rock, the boat travelled across the canyon and struck another rock.

In November 1999, a Japanese tourist was killed and 11 others injured when one of the company's boats hit a canyon wall.

Twenty-two days earlier nine passengers were taken to hospital after a boat hit a rock, but there were no major injuries.

In 2010, 12 people received minor to moderate injuries when a Shotover Jet boat crashed into a cliff face.

In April, the company gained international attention after taking the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a trip during their tour of New Zealand.

Shotover Jet, owned by Ngai Tahu Tourism, has now carried more than three million passengers since being launched in 1965.

It is the only company permitted to operate in the Shotover River canyons.

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

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