Tandem skydivers who crashed into Lake Wakatipu last to leave plane

13 January, 2018, 17:09 | Author: Sherman Richardson
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It emerged today that he and the instructor were the last of nine pairs to jump from the ill-fated NZONE skydive plane about on Tuesday afternoon.

He said he had spoken to police and the skydiving operator, but not the instructor.

It is less than three months since mother-of-eight Kerri Pike, and instructors Peter Dawson and Toby Turner died after a mid-air collision in Mission Beach.

He said the young man was travelling alone, was on holiday and Nzone staff were helping police try to contact the man's next of kin overseas.

A skydiver has been rushed to hospital and a search is frantically underway for another after a tandem jump went awry with both landing in a lake.

It set off a chain of events involving two of his colleagues on land that resulted in the miraculous water rescue of a dazed skydive instructor who had just plunged into the icy waters of Lake Wakatipu.

Ritter confirmed the tandem master who survived the crash, did so because of a good Samaritan who had been flying his helicopter nearby and witnessed the incident.

Mr Ritter said the instructor was rescued after a person flying in a helicopter saw what happened, landed near their home, jumped in a boat and drove out to rescue them.

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Rive said he was working on his Central Otago station bordering Lake Wakatipu that day when he received Ford's call around 1.40pm.

The company also expressed their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the tourist, aged in his twenties, who is still missing after the accident. Ritter had not seen the footage but it would be used as part of the investigation.

Experience Co bought Queenstown's NZONE Skydive in 2015 for $17 million to tap into New Zealand's booming tourism sector. "The close-knit community of Queenstown has rallied behind them during this hard time".

The TAIC investigation could take a year, Mr Stephenson said.

He said he did not want to comment on the suggestion there was a parachute malfunction, but that this would be investigated.

Parachutes have recording systems in them and they would be used to piece together what happened, Mr Stephenson said.

"We are among the most heavily regulated skydiving environments in the world, ensuring all skydiving operations have robust safety processes and procedures which are audited and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority".

"In the meantime, our top priority is to support the people directly involved and the wider skydiving community, all of whom are, understandably, deeply distraught by this incident".

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