Queenstown rafting companies 'devastated' by client's death

The man fell into the river with the other occupants of the raft on the "Toilet" rapid.
The man fell into the river with the other occupants of the raft on the "Toilet" rapid. Photo credit: Getty

The Queenstown rafting companies whose client died after the raft he was on overturned say all safety precautions were followed on the voyage down the Shotover River.

In a joint statement, Queenstown Rafting and Challenge Rafting say the man, whom New Zealand Police have not yet named, fell into the river with the other occupants of the raft on the "Toilet" rapid.

While he was being pulled to safety, he lost his grip on the rope and was swept into the next rapid.

The safety kayaker helped him navigate the rapid, but after making it to shore the man became unresponsive, the companies say. He was unable to be resuscitated, despite the provision of CPR, the use of a defibrillator and treatment from a paramedic.

The companies, who work together to deliver rafting trips, are assisting Maritime New Zealand with its investigation. They have both halted operations until further notice.

They say the two other rafts that were with the one that overturned did not capsize.

Queenstown Rafting general manager Luke Taylor says his staff have been left devastated by the death.

"Our hearts go out to our guests and the families of those involved in this. Both our companies wish to offer the group our sincere condolences and on-going support."

Just two months ago, Queenstown Rafting lost one of its guides on the same stretch of river.

Newshub.