16 Oct 2017

Jet boat accident 'dreadful tragedy'

1:52 pm on 16 October 2017

The man who died in a jet boat racing accident yesterday was one of the "colourful characters" of the sport, a Jet Boat River Racing Association spokesman says.

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The Waimakariri River in Canterbury. Photo: 123RF

Duayne Barry Insley, 47, from Glenorchy, died in a boating accident on the Waimakariri River in Canterbury as participants took part in an international jet boat competition.

The incident happened just before 11am on Sunday during leg two of the ITM World Jet Boat Marathon upstream from a patch of braided river known as 'the pylons'.

Mr Insley was the navigator of the boat that crashed on the upstream leg of the race which was cancelled shortly after the incident occurred.

The boat's driver, Dwayne Terry, escaped without injury.

Organisers said the jet boat was a CX class with a 525 horsepower engine, capable of speeds of up to 160km/h.

Forty-five teams from four countries are competing in the week-long event which takes place across eight South Island rivers.

The death has been referred to the Coroner.

One of his friends, Mark Hasselman, said Mr Insley was well known in Glenorchy, having built up a horse-trekking business as well as serving on the local community association.

He said there were several locals involved in racing and, while everyone knew there was risk involved, no one had expected this horrible accident.

Jet Boat River Racing Association spokesman Paul Mullan said the jet boating community was devastated with the news.

"It's a close-knit community, it's a minority sport and despite the fact that there are four countries involved in this World Championship, everybody does know each other ... it's a tough time."

He told Morning Report all motor sports had risks associated with them and the people who took part where aware of that.

"This is one of the downsides of the exhilaration and the thrill that comes from taking part in something like this."

Mr Insley and his wife own a horse trail business and have a background in farming, he said.

Mr Mullen said Mr Insley was one of the "colourful characters" of jet boating.

Racing will resume on the Rakaia River on Tuesday.