Investigation to take a year
Queenstown skydiving company NZONE was operating as usual yesterday, despite a crash affecting two employees on the weekend, the general manager says.
Sasa Jojic and Sasa Ljaskevic, both from Serbia, crash-landed after jumping from 4500 metres while attempting a low turn near Drift Bay at 7.45am on Saturday.
The pair were coming in to land on a staff tandem training jump when they were injured.
They were transported Dunedin Hospital.
Jojic is the NZONE operations manager.
A hospital spokeswoman said Jojic was in the intensive care unit with restricted visits.
Ljaskevic was in the surgical unit.
Jojic has had over 29,000 skydives and was in the Serbian national skydiving team, twice claiming the title of Yugoslavian champion.
Ljaskevic was a trainee skydiver under Jojic’s instruction.
NZONE Skydive general manager Clark Scott said the company resumed operating on Sunday, but bad weather had meant no one had jumped.
It did not appear that the accident, which occurred at the start of Chinese New Year celebrations and peak holiday period for Chinese tourists, had affected the number of bookings.
‘‘We are operating today and we haven’t noticed any effect at all,’’ Scott said.
He was not aware of any booking cancellations.
Tourism New Zealand spokesperson said the accident should not affect the number of bookings, but would not specifically comment on Chinese tourists.
‘‘While one accident like this is one too many, we do not expect this to impact on tourist arrivals, regardless of the country of origin.’’
The vast majority of tourists, overseas and Kiwis, experience New Zealand without incidents, the spokesperson said.
‘‘New Zealand consistently rates internationally as a safe country to visit and tourism safety is taken extremely seriously by the industry.’’
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said there was no obvious indication as to the cause of the crash.
It could be up to 12 months before investigators were able to release information, he said.