Witnesses helping boat ramp inquiry

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014
Lake Benmore witness sought
WITNESS SOUGHT: Police want to talk to this woman, who they believe might have witnessed 73-year-old John Gascoigne being injured at Lake Benmore on December 28.

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Police are urging more key witnesses to a boating incident at Lake Benmore to come forward with their account of events.

Senior Constable Bruce Dow has spoken to two key witnesses, but believes many more people would have seen the incident unfold.

John Gascoigne, 73, of Timaru, suffered spinal injuries after he became tangled in a rope while putting a boat in the lake near Twizel.

The incident happened on December 28 while he was assisting a relative in unloading the boat at the Ohau C ramp.

Mr Gascoigne suffered serious injuries including a broken neck and is now a tetraplegic, Mr Dow said.

Mr Dow has this week spoken to two key witnesses - a boatie who was out on the water at the time and the driver of the vehicle who was waiting to load their boat.

"I've got it confirmed that the rope was attached to the injured party's trailer, but it's still unclear if it was front, rear or middle, and whether it was tied or caught on the trailer."

Mr Dow said both witnesses had been helpful and hoped others would also come forward.

"I'm aware there were heaps of people in the area [at the time]."

He said in many cases, boaties would go to the aid of others who appeared to be having trouble launching or loading their boat.

In this case that did not happen.

He said he hoped the people who watched, but did not help, would not be afraid to come forward.

Mr Dow was also keen to see video footage or photos, if there were any taken of the incident, to get a better understanding of what happened.

Mr Gascoigne remains in a "seriously ill" condition in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit.

Anyone with information can contact the Oamaru police on 0800 426 7736, extension 34800 or email Mr Dow at bruce.dow@police.govt.nz

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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