NZONE Skydive owner Experience Co suspends Queenstown operations, shares fall
By Paul McBeth
Jan. 12 (BusinessDesk) - Australian adventure tourism operator Experience Co shares fell 9.4 percent after suspending its Queenstown operations after the Wednesday skydiving incident left a US man missing and presumed drowned.
The Wollongong-based company has suspended Queenstown operations and today confirmed the incident on Wednesday after a tandem pair landed in Lake Wakatipu at Jack's Point, it said in a statement to the ASX. The shares fell 8 Australian cents to 77 Australian cents after coming off a halt on Wednesday. The recovery operation for the missing US man is continuing while the rescued tandem master is recovering well.
Experience Co, formerly known as Skydive the Beach Group, is cooperating fully with investigating authorities including police, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission and Civil Aviation Authority, chief executive Anthony Ritter said.
"The company voluntarily suspended local operations immediately after the incident," Ritter said. "A decision on when jumping will recommence will be made in due course after consultation with the staff, crew, regulators and the wider Queenstown community."
Experience Co bought Queenstown's NZONE Skydive in 2015 for $17 million to tap into New Zealand's booming tourism sector. NZONE, set up in 1990, employs 65 staff and has taken more than 300,000 passengers tandem skydiving. The Australian company expanded its New Zealand footprint with the $10.4 million purchase of Skydive Wanaka in 2016.