In­ves­ti­ga­tion to take a year

Central Otago Mirror - - SHOPPING IN WANAKA - DASHA KUPRIENKO

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.

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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.

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