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Media statement regarding the death of Mr Leslie Gelberger

Ports of Auckland was today sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to comply with a duty that exposes individual(s) to a risk of death or serious injury, an offence against s48 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The charge relates to Ports of Auckland's pilot boat exceeding the 5 knot speed limit within 200m of shore and exceeding the 12 knot speed limit within the Waitematā​ Harbour Restricted Zone.

The case related to the death of Mr Leslie Gelberger in 2017. Mr Gelberger was swimming off Cheltenham Beach when he was struck by a Ports of Auckland pilot boat and killed.

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said "I am deeply sorry that our pilot boat was involved in this tragic accident. I would like to offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr Gelberger's wife, children, parents, sister and wider family.

As a family man I understand how much pain his loss has caused, and I profoundly regret what has happened."

Immediately after the accident, Ports of Auckland took action to change the route taken by pilot boats to mitigate the possibility of a similar accident happening in future. Ports of Auckland has also addressed the issues that led to boats speeding in restricted areas, which arose because of misinterpretation around the rules which grant pilot boats an exemption to the speed limits.​


Matt Ball
Head of Communications
M: +6421 495 645
E: [email protected]