Emergency buttons installed in KJet boats

KJet in action on Lake Waikatipu. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
KJet in action on Lake Waikatipu. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
Following a jet-boat crash which injured two people in Queenstown, KJet has installed an emergency button on all its vessels which alerts shore-side management if a driver or boat becomes incapacitated.

A Transport Accident Investigation Commission report released yesterday revealed a failed fuse was the cause of the accident in March 2021 and recommended the sector address the risk of single points of failure.

In response to the report, a KJet spokesman said the company continued to prioritise the health and safety of its passengers and drivers.

"The company has done everything required to mitigate risk."

In March last year, the 6.5m jet-boat, carrying 12 passengers and a driver, was on its return journey up the Shotover River when its engine stopped.

The driver, who had clocked nearly 1600 hours of driving experience, was unable to regain control of the vessel’s steering and propulsion, and the boat ran into low-hanging trees.

The driver and a passenger were airlifted to Queenstown Lakes District Hospital with moderate head injuries from the impact, while several other passengers were treated for minor injuries at KJet’s operations base.

The report said an examination of the fuse revealed the failure was due to mechanical fatigue, caused by vibrations and flexing of an unsupported connecting wire.

The commission called for Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) to work with operators in introducing preventive measures for single points of failure such as more thorough technical assessments.

"The company will continue to work alongside Maritime New Zealand and relevant industry bodies as and when required," KJet’s spokesman said.

This was the first reported case of engine failure caused by a fuse subjected to mechanical fatigue in both the MNZ database and the international boat community, the report said.

--  lucy.wormald@odt.co.nz

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