The widow of a Queenstown man killed in a jetboat tragedy visited the accident site this week on the first anniversary of her husband’s death.
Brett Singleton died “doing what he loved doing”, his widow Sue says.
Her husband died when his private jetboat collided with a jetski on a bend in the Kawarau River near Frankton.
Fishing mate Anton Woitasek also died, while a young Invercargill couple on the jetski were seriously injured.
Her best memories of Brett are “lots of good times, lots of fun”, Sue says – they’d been together 12 years and married almost 10.
“And I guess the one thing he had that no one else will ever have was his absolutely amazing smile.”
Friends have helped her greatly during the past year.
Sue won’t comment on the cause of the accident till investigations are completed. However, she’s seen medical reports suggesting the pair could have survived if they’d worn lifejackets – their head injuries would have been severe, however.
“And I know Brett would have hated living like that,” Sue says.
“We know the only reason they didn’t have [lifejackets] on was [because] they were fishing.”
Yet she fully supports Queenstown Lakes District Council’s new bylaw making lifejackets compulsory for everyone in a vessel of six metres or less.
“Brett would have been one of the first ones to be pushing for lifejackets – that’s the ironic part of it.”
Sue is relieved the two jetskiers, one of whom wasn’t expected to live, have recovered well.
Invercargill father Colin Clay says that’s certainly true of his jetskier son Mark, 22, while Emma Eckhold – his 19-year-old companion who suffered head injuries – is “progressing quite well … but still has a little way to go”.
Maritime New Zealand says it’s finished its inquiries and “determined there are no issues from a regulatory point of view”.
Police senior constable Chris Blackford says scheduling an inquest into the deaths hinges on the release of a Transport Accident Investigation Commission report. The report is due in April at the earliest.