MEDIA STATEMENT TE UREWERA BOARD - APPROVED 6 SEPT
Yesterday, our 4 French Trampers leave Waikaremoana shaken but thankfully without major injury caused after a cable release on the Hopuruahine bridge seeing our manuhiri (our visitors) fall to the river below. We are grateful to a local operator Mr Simpson who was on hand to transport our trampers to our Te Urewera team, where their concern for our manuhiri kicked in immediately.
The Board then urgently convened a response team headed by Group Manager Onukurangi Willie Shaw and consisting of Tuhoe and DOC senior management. The response team implemented 5 key priorities:
- The Welfare of Manuhiri is paramount.
- Ensure that all other Great Walk Lake Waikaremoana critical structures are verified safe.
- Engineer determination of fault.
- Undertake an independent Health and Safety review.
- Support our frontline team to manage every eventuality, particularly enabling their ability to deliver care to our manuhiri.
The Board, Tuhoe and DOC are taking the incident extremely seriously. The response plan involves up to 10 people in overseeing the welfare of our trampers and in investigating the incident. A 10 day turnaround timeframe to complete these investigations is in place. Worksafe NZ and engineers aim to complete their inspections early to mid week, allowing for their analysis to be completed within the timeframe. Both DOC and the Board will be undertaking separate and indedpendent health and safety reviews of the incident.
We will continue to want to know how our trampers are in the days and weeks that follow. We are planning to inform them of the investigation outcome once complete.
Importantly, our Te Urewera team and DOC engineers have completed inspecting our other 6 structures and can verify their safe condition for continued use.
The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk remains open from Onepoto road end to Whanganui Hut. Until further notice Waikaremoana Great walk is to be walked in one direction only starting from Onepoto. Water Taxi pick up has been arranged from Whanganui Hut at 2pm daily.
For further information on the Lake Waikaremoana walk contact Te Urewera Visitor Centre 06 837 3803.