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Instructor breaks down recalling tragedy

An instructor has broken down as she described the day six Auckland students and a teacher died during a canyoning trip she was leading in the Mangatepopo Gorge.

The Auckland Coroner’s Court is holding an enquiry into the deaths of the students and teacher from Elim Christian College at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, near Turangi, in 2008.

Instructor Jodie Sullivan was detailing the minutes leading up to the tragedy when she broke down in tears. She described the ten students and one teacher she took on the trip as ‘confident’ and ‘excited’ about the adventure ahead.

As the water rose and the clouds darkened, Ms Sullivan says she realised the group was in trouble and little could be done.

MetService forecaster Ross Marsden was grilled by lawyers for the centre about why faxes received on the day of the tragedy missed out the word “thunderstorm” and why the error was not corrected. He insists correct procedures were followed.

Family members are in attendance at the week-long hearing, which continues.


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