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Adventure firm faces trial over Briton's river death.

The trial has started in New Zealand of an adventure sport company that is accused of breaching safety laws during a water board excursion that killed a 21-year-old woman from Worcestershire.

The company and its director have pleaded not guilty to breaching health and safety laws after Emily Jordan died in the river boarding tragedy in April, 2008.

The law graduate from Trimpley, in Worcestershire, drowned when she became trapped between rocks in the Kawarau River Gorge, near Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island.

Maritime New Zealand laid three charges against Black Sheep Adventure Ltd, which trades as Mad Dog River Surfing, and three charges against its director, Brad Alexander McLeod.

Maritime New Zealand prosecutors told Queenstown District Court that the company failed in their pre-trip safety briefings to sufficiently warn river boarders of the dangers, and the guides did not have the correct gear to free Ms Jordan in time.

Ms Jordan, who had a first-class degree in law from the University of Swansea, was on the trip with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jonny Armour.

They were part of a group of ten Mad Dog River Boarding customers who paid to body board down the fast flowing rapids of the Kawarau River gorge.

Crown Prosecutor Brent Stanaway claimed the organisers did not carry essential throw-bags or ropes on the day that Emily drowned.

The company had also not briefed them on how to escape if trapped when riding on the modified wakeboard, the court was told.

Emily was trapped on a rock and had been under water for 20 minutes before a boat operated by another company came along. The crew of the second boat used ropes to retrieve her body.

The incident was especially harrowing for her boyfriend, who was standing on the riverbank while rescuers recovered Emily, the court was told.

Jonny Armour will give evidence by video link from London, and the court will also hear from a New York woman who was on the same trip and went past the other side of the rock that eventually killed Ms Jordan.

The trial is expected to last for five days


Emily Jordan
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 18, 2009
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