18 Nov 2013

DoC stops water checks in Kermadecs

9:32 pm on 18 November 2013

The Department of Conservation has stopped taking water temperatures at Raoul Island after the death of one of its workers there.

It is presumed that Mihai Muncas-Nagy, 33, from Romania, drowned after being swept out to sea in January 2012 while checking the ocean temperature round the island 1000km north-east of Auckland in the Kermadec islands.

The department has now told the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to use electronic devices in future if it feels that water testing is important.

Rangers on the island at the time said there were no specific safety instructions, though there was an understanding that if a worker felt unsafe they should not carry out the temperature checks.

There was a nearby shed which contained life jackets and other safety equipment, but there was no instruction to wear or use the gear.

DoC has been convicted on health and safety charges and paid $60,000 in reparations. The inquest will conclude on Tuesday.