NZ Coroners Rule No.1: when apportioning guilt, Blame the dead because its cheaper all around and … they can’t defend themselves.
In another one of those great kiwi traditions, West Coast coroner Richard McElrea has blamed two foreign tourists, Poi May Tan, 31, of Singapore, and Yu-Ling Chen, 28, of Taiwan, for their deaths.
The victims died from head injuries and drowning when they attempted to cross the icy Waiho River, just downstream of the Franz Josef Glacier, one of NZ’s top tourist deathtraps, on December 9, 2011.
The coroner ruled yesterday that the two victims ignored international warning signs and showed poor judgement of the dangers of alpine river crossings, according to a report.
Read between the lines:
They took a copy of a map from the backpackers where they were staying, that showed them where the walk was located.
Since the double death, details of the Roberts Point track have been removed from the map, because it did not explain how difficult the walk was. The tramp is a five-hour return trip, and it took the group four hours to reach the end.
Continue reading between the line:
Forensic pathologist Martin Sage said at the inquest in Greymouth yesterday that neither woman had alcohol in their system and had died from head injuries and drowning.
“This was terribly tragic, especially since there was a swingbridge about half an hour from where they chose to cross. Their primary decision-making was full of errors. Had they decided to spend the night in the bush, they would have been cold and uncomfortable, but all of them would still be alive.”
Since the fatalities, DoC had proposed realigning the track where it nears the Waiho River. That was scheduled to happen over the next three months.
Mr McElrea, recommended that a new sign warning visitors should be put up at the start of the track.
“The core message from this inquiry would seem to be the dangers of crossing glacier-fed rivers,” he said.
He concluded that Ms Tan and Ms Chen drowned because of poor decision making. They underestimated the dangers of alpine river crossings and did not take into account the sign, which clearly stated they should not attempt a crossing.
Full story is posted at Drowned tourists ignored warning signs (!)
The two tourists were the 2,301st – 2,302nd foreigners to be murdered/ killed in New Zealand since January 2000.
On average, 3 foreigners are killed in New Zealand every 4 days.