Cave Creek Disaster

Paige Best

What Happened?

On April 28th, 1995, 16 foreign exchange students and 1 DOC fell 140 feet when a viewing platform collapsed underneath them while they were hiking at a National Park in New Zealand. There were 21 people all together and they split into 2 groups. One with 17 people and the other with 4. The first group fell and a little bit later the second group arrived. When they arrived there were six still alive. They called the police and they had to get there on foot because it was so far in. By the time the police got there, a couple hours had passed and 2 of the 6 still alive had died. Only 4 made it out alive.

What Caused the Disaster?

The students were fooling around and jumping around. They realized how unsturdy it was yet they kept jumping which caused the viewing platform to collapse. Also, the people who had built the viewing platform did not have engineering or design qualifications.

How Does this Classify as a Disaster?

This classifies as a disaster because so many people had died and the people that had fallen were messing around and jumping around even though they knew it was unstable and the people who built the platform did not have engineering or design qualifications.

Did this Disaster Promote change?

This disaster did promote change. 3 months after this accident they closed all platforms around New Zealand to make sure everything is good and they're all stable. This also changed laws and lives in New Zealand.


NZ Herald: New Zealand's latest news, business, sport, weather, travel, technology, entertainment, and science. (n.d.) retrieved December 17,2014

NZ Herald: New Zealand's Latest News, Business, Sport, Weather, Travel, Technology, Entertainment, Politics, Finance, Health, Environment and Science. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2014

Significance. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2014, from

Bibliography. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2014, from

Causes. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2014, from

Quotes From the Survivors

Stacy Mitchell

"It was shaking a lot. We were giving it a good nudge. But we felt pretty safe doing it. There was a sudden movement forward and the platform just dropped. It tilted in a violent motion and we all fell forward against the handrail."

Carolyn Smith

"Over those years, I was determined I could manage it on my own. I just didn't have the energy to fight it (the trauma effects) anymore and finally had to seek some help."

Sam Lucas

"You never really are over it. I suppose I just learned to deal with it. It's always with you. It doesn't define who I am, its just something that has happened along the way."

Stephan Hannen

"I changed my lifestyle. I was living pretty recklessly. I went and got help for it. I had to get off and stop the drugs and the drinking and of that stuff because it was taking a toll on my life."


Alison Blackman, Abram Larmour, Matthew Reed, Barry Hobson, Scott Murray, Anne-Marie Cook, Jody Davis, Catherine McCarthy, Peter Shaw, Kit Pawsey, Evan Stuart, De Anne Reid, Pail Chisholm, and Stephan O'Dea (Department of Conservation Manager)