Jetboat crash victim named

Last updated 11:01 05/01/2014

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A man who died in a jet boat crash in Hawke's Bay yesterday has been identified as Dale Baker, 51, of Taranaki.

Baker was driving the jet boat on the Ngaruroro River, west of Hastings, about midday on Saturday when he lost control, hitting willow trees on the bank, Senior Sergeant Marc Clausen said.

Baker was struck by a branch and killed instantly.

He was listed on the 2012 electoral roll as a rigworker who lived in Onaero, north of New Plymouth.

Leanne Lilly, 43, also from Taranaki, was flown to hospital by helicopter and three others in the boat were treated for minor injuries.

Lilly was in a serious but stable condition in intensive care.

Jet Boating New Zealand (JBNZ) said three boats from the Taranaki branch of the club were on an official trip to the river and Baker's boat, Bang-On, was travelling last in the group.

The other two boats were at a rest stop waiting for the third when they realised something was wrong and went back to find the boat crashed.

It appeared the boat struggled in shallow water before skidding over shingle and slamming into willow trees and pinning Baker in the boat, JBNZ national president Garth McMaster said.

"Every sport is dangerous and none of us like these accidents but every one of us accepts that there are risks in lots of things we do today and jetboating is no different."

Baker was described as an "extremely competent" jet boater and had been a member of the Taranaki branch of JBNZ for two years.

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