Queenstown trio escapes sinking jetboat


Three Queenstowners had to jump from their sinking jetboat in river rapids at the weekend.

Lake Dunstan harbourmaster Shayne Hitchcock says the boat sank downstream of Roaring Meg on the Kawarau River on Saturday afternoon.

The submerged boat is yet to be found.

Hitchcock understood the group “came to grief with rapids”.

“It is a notorious stretch of river,” he says.

“They had every right to be there but it’s an area for very, very experienced skippers. Even the commercial ones don’t go there.”

Hitchcock says he spent some time looking for the boat to ensure it wasn’t a navigational hazard.

“Once it’s found we’ll decide what to do with it – whether to remove it.”

The group had great equipment including good life jackets and a working radio, he says.

He adds: “The radio didn’t work in the gorge, which is another lesson.”

The trio managed to get to shore without incident and the skipper called for help. Hitchcock didn’t know their gender or ages.

Police said they received a call about 2.48pm but by the time officers arrived all three were safely ashore.

Otago Daily Times