Jetboat victim named

Last updated 15:44 04/01/2014

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

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

Mr Baker was struck by a branch and killed instantly.

He was listed on the 2012 electoral roll as a rigworker who lived in Onaero.

Leanne Lilly, 43, also from Taranaki, was flown to Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital by helicopter and three others in the boat were treated for minor injuries.

Ms Lilly is 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 Mr 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 crashing into the willow trees, pinning Mr 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."

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

He had experience boating on the Ngaruroro river and on Taranaki rivers.

Everyone on the boats was wearing lifejackets.

The circumstances of the crash will be investigated by the Maritime Safety Authority and police and the death would be referred to the coroner.

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- Fairfax Media

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