Boat accident in Currumbin River.
Boat accident in Currumbin River. John Gass

Surf death 'waiting to happen'

THE death of a surfer on the Gold Coast following a collision with a boat was "an accident waiting to happen", the city's acting chief lifeguard says.

Richard King, 42, of Currumbin Waters, died just hours after being hit by a boat on Sunday while surfing at the popular Currumbin Alley at the southern end of the coast.

People on the boat pulled Mr King out of the water immediately and he was rushed to Gold Coast Hospital where he died.

Peter Miller, Acting Chief Lifeguard for Gold Coast City Council, told ABC Radio on Monday they had had some close calls before.

"I guess it's an accident waiting to happen and unfortunately it's cost a life in this circumstance."

"When you have boats going in and out on a constant basis and so many people there, so many people, not just the experienced boardriders that get right out the back, but the little ones, the parents there ... there's just hundreds and hundreds of people there.

"So I guess this was always going to happen at some stage," Mr Miller said.

The end of the patrol season a couple of weeks ago would have made no difference to the outcome, he said.

The beach at the mouth of Currumbin Creek was one of the most dangerous on the coast.

"We have more rescues there than any other beach on the Gold Coast," Mr Miller said.

"It's a tidal flow, so when that tide runs out and you've got a big tide, there's a huge volume of water going out and for the unwary it's a real trap."

Mr Miller said as far as he could see it was just an unfortunate accident and there was very little that could be done to prevent it happening.

He also said it would not be popular or practical to ban surfers from the area.

Currumbin surfer dies

A SURFER died in Gold Coast Hospital yesterday afternoon hours after being struck by a boat at Currumbin Alley.

The 42-year-old Currumbin Waters man was hit by a boat entering the Currumbin Ck estuary about 8.30am.

Regional duty officer Inspector Geoff Palmer said the man had failed to catch a wave and was hit in the head by a following fibreglass boat.

“We couldn’t even give a good description of him; his head injuries were pretty bad,” Insp Palmer said.

“I suppose in an area with surf across the bar and boats going in and out, this had a propensity to happen.

“I’m told there were other surfers and a surf-skier around at the time who came and got the surfer into the boat.

“The people in the water did a great job; their quick treatment could have potentially saved his life.”

Sam Chilcott from the Currumbin Alley Surf School said he heard about the incident when he returned to shore from surfing the Alley.

“It’s devastating,” Mr Chilcott said.

“It’s definitely sad for the surfing community.

“Hopefully it makes the boaties step back, have a good look at themselves, and pay more attention.”

Surf-skier Sharon Kyme directly assisted in the rescue and said after hearing the boat-driver calling for help she noticed a board, wetsuit and blood floating in the water.

“I was holding his (the surfer’s) head and there was lots of blood; we had to bandage his head with a towel,” Ms Kyme said.

“Once we got him to the boat ramp the lifeguards and ambulance came quickly, helped keep him still, and gave assistance.

“He was not talking, but was breathing.”

Sam Chilcott from Currumbin Alley Surf School said he heard about the incident when he returned to shore from surfing in the Alley.

“It’s devastating,” Mr Chilcott said.

“It’s definitely sad for the surfing community.

“Hopefully it makes the boaties step back, have a good look at themselves, and pay more attention.”

A Gold Coast Hospital spokeswoman said because the man’s identity was not known she could provide no information.

A Department of Community Services spokeswoman confirmed a surfer was struck by a boat at 8.48am Sunday, suffered a fractured skull and was transported to the Gold Coast Hospital in a critical condition.

Insp Palmer said paramedics were “holding his head together when they were performing CPR”.

“The boat driver was visibly shaken, but he stopped straight-away (when the incident occurred).

“He’ll be interviewed and at the moment we’re just trying to make inquires to establish the surfer’s identity.”

Police are appealing for information relating to the identity of the surfer and anyone with information should call the Broadbeach Police Station on 5581 2800 or Policelink on 131 444.



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