The American tourist who was found face down in the water whilst swimming with dolphins in Marlborough Sound on Tuesday has been named as 27 year old Emily May Harper from Denver, Colorado. Please see this article for further details.
Initial postmortem results suggest that she may have suffered a cardiac arrest. Her boyfriend told the press that as far as he knew she had no health problems and he said she was a competent swimmer. Her death was especially tragic as he'd only proposed to her a few hours earlier and had yet to give her the engagement ring he'd picked out for her. The couple had known each other since middle school 14 years previously and had shared an apartment in Capitol Hill with their cats.
Our thoughts are with him and the couple's families and friends for their terrible loss.
Ms Harper's death, sadly, is one of a number of adventure tourism related tragedies to have beset New Zealand in recent years. Other fatalities have included British woman Emily Jordan who died when she became trapped underwater whilst riverboarding, Paul Woods A doctor who died jet boating, Brett Singleton and Anton Woitasek died when their jet boat collided with two jet skiiers on the Kawaru River, Yang Wang a Chinese tourist who died whilst jet boating, British woman Katie Bond who died in a quad bike expedition, a Skytrek hang-glider Andrew Michael Scotland and his passenger Argentinean Gerado Bean were killed near the Remarkables, Catherine Peters died when she fell from the Ballance Bridge Swing and six high school students and a teacher drowned whilst canynoning with an outward bound centre.
A safety review of the adventure tourism industry is supposed to be currently underway following calls for improvements by Chris Jordan (father of Emily Jordan who died whilst river boarding) He called NZ's safety regulations no better than "third world"
According to the Dept. of Labour website the following timetable shall apply to the review
Phase I - Scoping and establishing the knowledge base will be completed by 18 December
Phase II - Analysis, problem definition and reporting will start in January and end 31 March 2010.
A full report is expected to be with the minister of Labour by 31 March 2010, two years after Emily Jordan died. It will contain "options and recommendations".
We await its publication with interest.