New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said the Fox Glacier airplane accident that fatally injured nine people could have been avoided if a new regulation had been in effect at the time. The PM was speaking in Queenstown, and referenced the Civil Aviation Authority’s new part 115 rule which specifically regulates the adventure aviation industry saying it would have ensured the crash would not happen.
"Any death is one too many,' he said. "There are risks inherent in any adventure tourism activity, and this true around the world, but I believe that if CAA's part 115 been in operation sooner, this tragic crash would not have happened.' The rule covers a new certification regime for commercial adventure aviation introduced on May 1st regulating hang-gliders, paragliders, ballooning, tandem parachute jumps, microlights and gliders. Under this new regulation operators will be audited at least every three years, whereas the previous audit system was voluntary.
The Daily Echo reports roughly 400 adventure tourism businesses fall under the regulation, and audits that have just begun will take three years to complete. Chris Coker, father of English tourist Bradley Coker, who died in the Fox Glacier plane crash, has written to Key asking for answers. Press reports had previously quoted the family saying New Zealand’s adventure industry was unsafe.