Shotover Jet fatality remembered

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Queenstown tourism heavyweight Shotover Jet has remembered its darkest day alongside the family of the victim.

The Japanese parents, widow, brother and sister-in-law of Yuichiro Shibata – killed on a Shotover Jet trip 10 years ago – commemorated his death last Thursday at the company’s riverside base.

Shibata took the trip with his wife during their honeymoon and was killed instantly when the jetboat collided with a Shotover Gorge wall. The then-Maritime Safety Authority later blamed failure of a steering nozzle.

David Kennedy, southern region boss of Ngai Tahu Tourism – which subsequently bought Shotover Jet – attended and says Shibata’s family made the trip to acknowledge the 10 years since his death on November 12, 1999.

“We hold a remembrance ceremony every year.

“It’s just to remember. It’s important to us that we don’t forget those things.”

Shibata’s father made a speech and wreaths were laid at a plaque at Shotover’s base. The company also took the family on a gentle boat trip through the canyon.

“We got some nice feedback from the family saying they really appreciated the trouble we’d gone to to have a full ceremony and they’re happy that we hold a memorial every year,” Kennedy says.