The New Zealand Police have charged a charter boat company over the death of a Tongan man who fell overboard on a cruise ship in June 2017.
The body of Tēvita Kava, 29, was found in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour 10 days after falling overboard from a Red Boats charter during a friend’s birthday party on June 3.
Maritime New Zealand filed a charge against The Red Boats Limited under the Health and Safety at Work Act, New Zealand Herald reports.
It says the company is charged with “failing to comply with duty that exposes individuals to risk of death or serious injury or serious illness”.
Kava’s cousin Ngaire Speedy told Herald the family are relieved a charge has been laid over the death of her cousin.
It has been revealed Kava had a daughter but the family had initially kept it quiet to protect her, Herald reports.
But they now wanted people to know the little girl was among those affected by the tragedy.
“She’s doing all right. She lives in [Kava’s native] Tonga and she’s finally accepted it but I think we won’t tell her about the court [charge] … until the end.”
Kava was standing at the back of the charter boat during an evening cruise when he fell backwards into the water.
At the time, friends on board said Kava fell when a ramp gave way.
Red Boats owner Andrew Somers said at the time the ramp wasn’t broken and staff had later tested it.
He didn’t know how the ramp, usually locked and tied in place, became unlocked and untied, Somers said last June.
The matter is before the coroner, and an inquest will take place at a later date.
Somers said this week he did not yet know enough about the charge to comment.
The company will make its first appearance on June 20 in the Waitākere District Court.