Organisers of a NSW water skiing race are trying to piece together what went wrong before a highly-experienced competitor fell and sustained critical injuries.
The 20-year-old fell from her ski shortly after the start of the Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, about 9.45am on Sunday.
She sustained serious spinal and head injuries and was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said on Sunday night the competitor remained in a critical condition.
Event organiser Ski Racing Australia says it is inappropriate to name her until given permission by her family.
However, News Corp Australia and Network Seven have identified her as world champion Sarah Teelow.
Ski Racing Australia chairman Rick Love said it was not yet known what caused the accident.
‘‘The conditions were very good, it was on open water and the seas were slight,’’ he told AAP.
‘‘We are fairly certain she didn’t hit anything.‘‘We know she is in a very critical condition.’’
The race, which was put on hold for a short time, continued on Sunday.
Love said there was no presentation at the end with competitors and organisers instead praying for the injured waterskier and her family.
In a statement, Ski Racing Australia said it was ‘‘very proud’’ of its response teams, who were on scene immediately.
Darren Patterson, who was in the boat observing Teelow, described her as dedicated.’’...a uni student, very dedicated to everything she does, very committed, a lovely person,’’ he told Network Seven.
The two-day Bridge to Bridge classic runs between the mouth of the Hawkesbury to Windsor in Sydney’s west.