- Luke Wentworth died during a water ski race
- Southern 80 ski race held near Echuca
A water skier who tragically died while competing in a major event near the Victoria-New South Wales border has been remembered as an amazing, generous man with the “most beautiful smile”.
Emergency services were called to an area near Perricoota Road, Echuca-Moama, about 10am on Sunday following reports that a water skier in his 40s fell into the Echuca River while preparing for the Southern 80 race.
Luke Wentworth could not be revived and died at the scene.
It is understood the tragedy occurred an hour after the start of the race.
Mr Wentworth’s death sparked an outpouring of tributes.
Luke Wentworth died while competing in the Southern 80 race on Sunday
‘Luke was an amazing young man… and his family is so beautiful. If he needed something done for me, he just had to ask, a family friend told the Herald Sun.
‘I just can’t believe he’s gone. “It’s such a big, big loss.”
The race, attended by thousands of spectators, was canceled following the tragedy as New South Wales Police launched an investigation.
“The investigation is only at its inception and is developing as we speak,” Moama Chief Inspector Paul Haggett told reporters.
‘They affect the whole community, from the emergency services to the guy who runs the fish and chip shop.
“This will impact the community for months to come, long after everyone has gone home.”
New South Wales Police and marine officers have launched an investigation into the Echuca River tragedy.
Moama Water Sports Club president Steve Shipp said the club is co-operating with NSW Police and NSW Shipping investigations.
“As a ski racing family, we are here to support the affected family and team members, as well as the ski racing community at large, at this terribly sad time,” he said in a statement.
The police will prepare a report for the coroner.
Anyone with information about the incident or video footage is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The popular annual Southern 80 water ski race was canceled following the death of the skier.