Date: 03 September 2012
The Department of Conservation (DOC) acknowledges that it could have done more to prevent the disappearance of a volunteer measuring sea temperatures on Raoul Island earlier this year.
Mihai Muncus-Nagy, from Romania, went missing while taking temperature measurements from Fishing Rock on Raoul Island, 1000 kilometres north east of New Zealand, on 2 January.
DOC has today admitted a charge under health and safety legislation of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure his safety.
Deputy Director General, Operations Sue Cosford says at the time of the incident DOC had clear procedures in place to identify hazards and provide safety training for all staff, including volunteers, working on the island.
However she says the department acknowledges that there were extra steps that DOC could have taken to improve safety for those working on Fishing Rock.
Sue Cosford says DOC has apologised directly to Mr Muncus-Nagy’s widow and parents following the tragedy.
She says DOC has reviewed and strengthened its health and safety procedures on Raoul Island.
She says DOC has stopped manually measuring the sea temperature at Fishing Rock, following the incident, and is investigating gathering the data using automated sensors.
If there is a resumption of manual temperature measurements DOC will ensure that additional safety measures are in place such as having two people involved in the process and that equipment such as safety harnesses and a life vest are used.
Nick Hirst, DOC media advisor
Tel: +64 9 307 4866 or 027 704 7773