14 Dec 2011

Tourist injured by boat propeller awarded $80,000

10:46 pm on 14 December 2011

A tourist lucky to survive an accident while on a swimming-with-dolphins cruise in the Marlborough Sounds has been awarded $80,000.

The order was made in the Blenheim District Court which heard how Australian doctor Catherine Carlyle became entangled in a spinning propellor in December last year.

Dr Carlyle was on a dolphin swim with Picton-based Dolphin Watch and Nature Eco Tours when she jumped off the stern of the cruise boat into Queen Charlotte Sound.

Her legs were caught up in a propellor and she suffered fractures and a severed artery.

Maritime New Zealand, which prosecuted the company under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, said she was lucky to live.

On Wednesday, the company was fined $55,000 and costs, and ordered to pay $80,000 in reparations.

Maritime New Zealand says the boat skipper had turned off the engine, but should have known the propellors were still spinning when tourists were given the all-clear to enter the water.