26 Sep 2011

Coroner reiterates call for skiers to wear helmets

6:38 pm on 26 September 2011

A coroner has made a further call for skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets following a third inquest into an accidental death on the slopes of Mt Hutt.

Richard McElrea investigated the deaths of three people killed in separate skiing incidents last year has recommended the Canterbury ski field give clear warnings of icy conditions and hazards.

The findings of an inquest into the death of Christchurch lawyer Dimity Tomkins, 54, was released on Monday. It follows separate inquests into the deaths of Rachel Swett, a 21-year-old American student and Nello Donaggio, 30, an account manager from Christchurch.

All slipped on ice in separate incidents at the ski field. Mr McElrea says in each case, the victims died from brain injuries likely have been survivable if helmets had been worn.

The coroner points out that although Ms Tomkins was wearing a helmet, it was an older model that was dislodged by the force of fall.

The New Zealand Snowsports Council supports the recommendation for skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets, saying it encourages people to use safety gear when using the mountains.