Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Zealand: As Parents Prepares to Fly Home, Tragic News Must Be Reckoned With

As a follow-up to my postings going back to September 20, the parents of American Kirsten Steinke, 28, whose husband of just a few days, Kallan Stithem, 31, was killed when the two were involved in a collision with a cement truck near Waitomo Caves. 

Following the accident, Kristen was in critical condition from injuries sustained in the accident.

Unfortunately, the Steinkes, who flew out to New Zealand to be with their only child, still have not told their daughter that Kallan was killed in the accident.

COMMENT: As I have mentioned in previous postings, New Zealand is not an easy place to drive, particularly with vehicles driving on the "left." It should be noted that a Canadian tourist was killed at the same location last year.

Following the accident, Ms. Steinke spent two weeks in a coma in the ICU before being moved to the hospital's high dependency unit and later a conventional ward. 

Together with Mr. Stithem's parents, Gary and Jean, the Steinkes flew to New Zealand to be at their daughter's side. 

This week, Kirsten will return to New Jersey via air ambulance. No doubt, her rehabilitation will become prolonged as she learns that Kallan was killed in the accident, tragically leaving her a widow.

Obviously, few travelers who go abroad ever believe that something bad will occur while on the trip of a lifetime. Yet, they can and often do, which is why this site was established--to offer tourists and travelers safe guidance on traveling abroad.

In the hope that travelers to New Zealand have incident-free trips, I do suggest that jet-lagged visitors NOT rent vehicles immediately upon arrival, but rather take a bus or taxi to their destination. By doing so, they will have time to rest and adapt to the driving patterns before venturing out into a a much different traffic pattern.

Regardless of their destination, I suggest that all travelers subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage in the event they are injured or become ill while traveling abroad. Such coverage generally runs less than $10 a day and must be arranged BEFORE traveling abroad.