Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Father of dive student who drowned died of broken heart three months later

The father of a young Malaysian man who drowned during a diving assessment died three months later of a broken heart, his family say.

Luqmanulhakim Bin Moien, 23, was in near hypothermic temperature and zero-visibility water at Lake Puketirini at the New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies (NZSOS) when he disappeared from view on April 28, 2014.

NZSOS dive supervisor Tony Anaru Te Ripo and representatives for the school itself appeared for sentencing in the Hamilton District Court yesterday after last year admitting one charge each under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The court was presented victim impact statements from four of Mr Bin Moien's eight siblings and his mother.

Huntly dive school victim Luqman Bin Moien. Photo / Supplied
Huntly dive school victim Luqman Bin Moien. Photo / Supplied

Older brother Ismael said he felt guilty as he recommended the course for his younger brother after he had successfully completed it himself - under different management - five years earlier.

"It is almost a family tradition; my father was also a commercial diver. It was very distressing to see the impact on both of my parents immediately after Luqman died ... my father in particular became less and less able to cope, he became very depressed and withdrawn. He had been describing himself as without hope. I believe his grief contributed to his death."

Oldest brother Ikrar - who flew to New Zealand with younger brother Masri to be in court - said Mr Bin Moien held a prominent position in the family as he had promised to care for and financially support their parents.

That burden now fell on himself and one of his sisters.

Crown prosecutor Ross Douch told Judge Simon Menzies that none of the eight Malaysian students taking the course passed the initial swim test because the water was too cold - Mr Bin Moien was pulled from the water as he began cramping up.

Helena Weston, who had graduated with her dive certificate three months earlier, led Mr Bin Moien and two others, in wetsuits, into the water for their first dive.

Mr Douch said there was zero visibility for several metres before the water cleared and Ms Weston realised he was missing.

He said Te Ripo was standing about 20m from the shore in civilian clothing. His assistant dive instructor Timothy McKenzie, 33, of Napier, was also on land.

Mr Bin Moien's body was pulled out of the water by Te Ripo about 11 minutes after he went missing.

Ms Weston and Mr McKenzie had charges against them withdrawn late last year. Mr Douch said the issue of remorse was a "vexed issue" as Mr Bin Moien's family felt "the company failed them in terms of a response".

NZSOS lawyer Philippa Fee said the company had made several approaches.

She said the dive was an "assessment dive" and not part of the actual dive course, so the severity of their actions was not as great.

The company had assumed all of its participants had a basic level of skill as they all had to have their entry level Padi diver training certificate.

Te Ripo's lawyer Fletcher Pilditch said his client was extremely remorseful. Judge Menzies reserved his decision.

- NZ Herald

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