12 February 2024

'Absolute tragedy': Murray River waterski race cancelled after crash claims 40-year-old man

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Victorian man Luke Wentworth died from injuries following a waterskiing crash in the Murray River. Photo: Gassa ski-race team.

A 40-year-old man died after he suffered serious injuries during a major waterskiing event over the weekend.

Emergency services were called to the Murray River near Perricoota Road, Moama, following reports a man had been seriously injured while taking part in the Southern 80 waterskiing competition at about 10 am on Sunday (11 February).

Victorian Luke Wentworth was treated at the scene by paramedics from Victoria Ambulance.

Officers attached to Murray River Police District have begun investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident, and are being supported by Transport for NSW Maritime.

NSW Police Chief Inspector Paul Huggett described the incident as an “absolute tragedy”.

“It affects the whole community, from emergency services to the bloke that owns the fish-and-chip shops,” Insp Huggett said.

“This will affect the community for months to come. It’s an absolute tragedy.”

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Insp Huggett said the race had passed all the criteria to begin and there had been no problems with the water levels.

Southern 80 event organisers took to social media on Sunday to announce the race had been cancelled “due to an incident”.

Moama Water Sports Club president Steve Shipp said the races were cancelled after the skier could not be revived at the scene.

“The club is cooperating with NSW Police and Transport for NSW Maritime in their investigation into the incident,” Mr Shipp said.

“As a ski-racing family, we are here to support the affected family, team members, and the wider ski-racing community in this terribly sad time.”

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Luke’s ski-race team [Gassa] shared on social media: “We only have sad news at the moment. Please be mindful that there is a lot happening at the moment.

“We can’t answer any questions for a few days. We only need support for the team.”

Anyone with information about the incident or video footage is urged to call police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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