Two injured after charter cruise hits rock

Internal and external investigations are under way after a Real Journeys boat, on a private charter, "rode on to a rock'' in Milford Sound on Sunday, resulting in minor injuries to two passengers.

Real Journeys corporate communications manager Tsehai Tiffin said the incident happened about 11.45am, when Milford Monarch, with 39 passengers on board, hit Seal Rock, near Stirling Falls, as the "very experienced'' skipper made a routine approach towards the shoreline to observe seals.

Two passengers sustained minor injuries when they lost their balance.

Ms Tiffin said they were immediately attended to by staff on board and as an "additional precaution'' were met by a St John medic when the boat returned to Milford.

"The skipper followed procedure and ensured the boat was checked and had no interior damage or water integrity issues, before continuing with the return trip back to the Milford terminal, just over half-way along the fiord.

"Another of the company's vessels was following a short distance behind.''

There was no spill into the Sound.

The conditions at the time were fine with a calm, smooth sea and the wind was a 5-knot westerly breeze.

Ms Tiffin said the boat was inspected by RJs-contracted divers yesterday who found only superficial damage to the keel.

RJs acting general manager Kevin Sharpe said he was "upset to hear this happened on one of our services''.

"We apologise to everyone on that cruise, particularly the two who were injured.''

Maritime NZ was immediately notified by Real Journeys, as was the Southland harbourmaster.

Ms Tiffin said no further information was available and she was unsure how long the company's full internal investigation would take.

An MNZ spokeswoman said it was also investigating the incident and as such could not comment further.

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz


 

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