Quad bike accident couldn’t be helped’

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The owner of a Queenstown quad bike company says an accident that hospitalised a client this week was caused by over-acceleration.

A 56-year-old Australian woman spent Tuesday night at Queens­town’s Lakes District Hospital due to bruises to her chest, says Nomad Safaris owner David Gatward-Ferguson.

“They were coming round a corner [on Queenstown Hill, by the former Fly By Wire operation] and she pressed the accelerator a little harder than is required, the bike went quicker than perhaps the operator/driver was expecting and managed to just go over a small bank.”

A guide who’d been leading her and her husband for the two-hour trip called an ambulance which took her to LDH.

Gatward-Ferguson says Occu­pational Safety & Health is investigating, but he’s confident they’ll find it was “operator error”.

“There’s not a lot [you can do] because you can’t take the accelerator off them.

“It basically goes with the territory for these more adventurous adventures when the client themselves takes over – it’s up there with horse-riding and mountain biking.

“There’s a much greater level of risk than there is in these more controlled things like bungy jumping or scenic tours.”

Gatward-Ferguson says he’s had two other accidents during his four years running the business.