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Skier injured by unlicensed driver

21 Oct 2010

The dangers of a powerful boat operated by an inexperienced and unlicensed operator were highlighted when a skier was seriously injured.

Four people headed out from Mannum towards Caloote on the River Murray, in a 4.9 metre fibreglass ski boat with a 150 horsepower outboard engine, for a day of water skiing. The operator of the boat held a recreational boat operator’s licence and there was the required observer on board to watch a pair of skiers.

One of the skiers was having difficulty getting out of the water and up onto the skis, so the licensed operator decided to assist the struggling skier leaving control of the boat to an unlicensed operator.

The unlicensed operator attempted to operate the boat, but failed to get the two skiers out of the water after several attempts. On the last attempt, the operator did not realise that the wheel was turned to the right and the boat spun quickly, running over the fallen skier, who suffered serious leg and internal injuries.

The unlicensed operator’s convictions included aggravated operation of a vessel without due care for the safety of any person or property and for not holding a boat operator’s licence – with fines and courts costs totalling $3,707.

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