Man died while skateboarding disobeyed a warning not to descend a dune, the court is told.
A court has heard that the Korean tourist who died after being struck by a bus while sandboarding down the Te Paki Stream sand dunes in Northland disregarded a warning not to do so.
On February 4, 2019, Jin Chang Oh, 68, perished while sandboarding at Te Paki dunes after being struck by a tour bus. Oh descended the sand dune and was fatally injured after being struck by the bus’s rear wheels at the bottom.
In the Kaitaia District Court, Sand Safaris 2014 Limited is on trial before Judge Philip Rzepecky for a charge brought by Worksafe New Zealand regarding the death. According to the Health and Safety at Work Act, the employer is accused of putting a person at risk of harm or sickness.
Many people, including his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, were present when Oh passed away.
Given the dangers of sandboarding in the dunes, prosecutor Rachael Woods claimed the company had insufficient and inappropriate safety measures in place.
After a youngster was struck by a car while sandboarding on the dunes two years prior, Woods said that this was a serious risk and the company would have been aware of it.
The business has entered a not-guilty plea to the accusation.
Woods said that the business did not have a sufficient traffic control strategy for safeguarding sandboarders from other vehicles utilizing the Te Paki Stream, including numerous tour buses. She claimed that the business had not done everything it could to reduce the risks associated with the sandboarding activities.
Sand Safaris attempted to manage traffic at the bottom of the dunes without separating the run-out area from moving vehicles or using signs, barriers, or staff members.
Daniel Beazley, the driver of the Dune Rider bus that the Ohs were riding, testified in court on Monday that he had given the usual instructions that day to those going sandboarding, including instructions on how to slow the board down [by digging the toes into the sand] and asked some passengers at the base of the dunes to keep an eye out for other vehicles and prevent them from passing while people were sandboarding.
Although Dune Rider is a different company, it shares the same shareholders and directors as Sand Safari.
Beazley claimed that he went to the top of the dunes as per normal and reiterated the safety precautions, including the requirement that everyone descend one at a time.
He claimed that when he knelt down to assist a young girl in mounting and starting her board, he heard a board hit the sand behind him.
Beazley recalled that when he turned and spotted Oh, he held his hand up and ordered Oh to stop because he couldn’t descend the portion of the dune he was presumably heading to, and told him to wait and descend the area where he was assisting the young girl. Oh grinned at him while picking up his board, Beazley reported.
However, Beazley claimed that as soon as he turned around to assist the girl, he heard a board hit the sand once more. About a second later, he noticed something. Oh was already halfway down the sand dune.
Beazley acknowledged, when questioned by Woods, that he was unsure if everyone could speak English, but that he assumed they could because of their smiles and nods. Beazley claimed that since that day, he had stopped driving for the company since the incident had troubled him ever since.
He claimed that tour bus drivers had made a deal to sound their horns as they approached the dunes, but that particular day, he was too preoccupied attempting to assist his passengers to hear it.
Senny Robson, the driver of the Sand safari bus that struck Oh, claimed he was too focused on the people on the stream in front of him to notice that he had collided with Oh until passengers on his bus began screaming. When he tooted before arriving at the location that day, Robson, who had been driving the route for about 28 years, claimed to be traveling between 2-4 km/h. Robson claimed that he had never received any traffic management training.
Sang Kyun Oh, Oh’s son, has flown in from Korea to attend the four-day trial.