Tourist boat in collision

Four people narrowly escaped serious injury when the hire boat they were using on Lake Taupo was run over by a high-powered tourist boat.

The four people in their 20s, from Auckland, escaped with only a hand injury among them when their boat was run over on December 31 by the Eruptor, an 8.5m boat which can reach speeds of up to 95km/h, and which takes tourists from Taupo around to the modern Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay.

Maritime New Zealand is investigating the incident, which happened in rough conditions on Lake Taupo, with swells of up to 1m. Harbourmaster Philip King said with the chop and breaking waves, known as white horses, the Eruptor's skipper did not see the white hire boat.

The Eruptor struck the port (left hand) rear quadrant of the boat, but luckily for the four hire boat passengers, they were all seated well forward and avoided being hit.

However, the passengers and skippers of both boats were all badly shaken. An ambulance was called and took one of the hire boat passengers, a woman with a suspected sprained or broken hand, to Taupo Hospital.

The passengers on the hire boat had been out having ski biscuit rides on the lake.

Mr King said the mishap served as a reminder to boaties to be aware of their surroundings and the lake conditions.

Boating regulations say that skippers must keep a proper look out at all times and slow to 5 knots within 50m of another vessel.

Both boats are off the water being repaired.

The company that owns the Eruptor, Huka Falls River Cruises, would not comment on the accident and hire boat company staff also did not wish to comment, except to remind boaties the lake could be dangerous and sticking to the rules was important.


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