Pilot who helped rescue people from Whakaari/White Island feels he's been labelled a criminal

Source: 1News

One of the pilots who helped rescue people from Whakaari/White Island feels he's been labelled a criminal by WorkSafe.

Mark Law and another company are included in a wide-ranging investigation now charged in relation to the lead up to the eruption.

The heroics of Law and his team at Kahu Helicopters and another helicopter company resulted in 12 people being airlifted from the island when it erupted.

“We did what we said we would do in the event of an eruption,” Law told 1 NEWS.

His company wasn't on the island when the eruption happened, but earlier this week Kahu Helicopters was charged by WorkSafe.

While he welcomes the investigation, he says what happened after the eruption should also be included.

“I think the public of New Zealand are looking at it and think hang on, what’s going on here?"

“These people went out there and managed to recover a whole bunch of people and bring most home,” Law said.

1 NEWS has obtained the charging documents. two charges relating to the health and safety of staff and tourists detailing what the company was obliged to do.

“One of them particularly to do with failing to have an effective response, an emergency response to an event like an eruption is bollocks,” Law said of the charges.

He's highly critical of Worksafe's investigation and says it should be reviewing its own procedures.

Owning the company for 22 years - he says he's only been visited by WorkSafe once.

“We're quite surprised to be labelled criminals,” Law said.

Legal expert Bill Hodge says the charges relate solely to how companies manage risk even if they weren't on the island.

It's now up to the court to decide whether companies like Kahu kept people safe.