Police have revealed their desperate attempts to rescue a woman who died after becoming trapped in whitewash when her family’s boat capsized in a Sydney river.
A woman has died and four people have been injured after a boat capsized in a horrific incident in Sydney’s west yesterday.
Emergency services were called to the Nepean River in Penrith at about 12.40pm on Wednesday following reports a boat with five people on board had overturned.
It is understood the family were out on the tinny when it unintentionally went over Penrith Weir, sending them flying out of the boat.
Ten paramedic crews, NSW Police, PolAir, Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW crews were dispatched to the scene as part of a multi-agency rescue operation.
Acting superintendent from Nepean Police Area Command, Naomi Moore, told Sunrise police were faced with a “chaotic scene” when they arrived at the river.
“They weren’t sure of how many boat users had been in the water or were in the water at the time but they could see a female who was clearly caught up in the whitewash at the weir,” she said.
Police attempted to reach the 33-year-old woman by strapping ropes around themselves and trying to enter the waterway.
“Shortly after entering, it was apparent that the water was just far too dangerous and they had to exit the water and wait on the bank and call for some further assistance,” Ms Moore said.
Emergency services were forced to wait for “quite some time” before the woman was eventually pushed out of the whitewash and began to move down the river.
“The police ran for up to 800m along the riverbank following that female down the river, keeping an eye on her, looking at points where they could enter the waterway to go and rescue her. It was quite confronting,” she said.
The woman, who is yet to be formally identified, was pulled unconscious from the water and treated by paramedics.
Unfortunately, she could not be revived and died a short time later.
Two men and two teenagers – believed to be the woman’s partner, father and children – were rescued from the water and taken to Nepean Hospital for observation and treatment of minor injuries.
Ms Moore said physically the rest of the family is OK, but they are “no doubt” struggling emotionally and psychologically.
They were all released from hospital yesterday afternoon.
NSW Ambulance Acting Superintendent Greg Marshall branded the situation “tragic”.
“This is a tragic ending for this family on what should have been a fun day out on the water this Australia Day,” he said.
“It was a complex rescue operation with several people in the water when paramedics arrived on scene.
“We worked closely with Police, Fire and Rescue and the SES to get them out as quickly and safely as possible.
“This is a reminder to everyone out on the water this summer on how quickly things can turn. Paramedics are urging people to take care.”
An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Anyone who may have information is urged to contact Penrith Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
A man also died on the Central Coast yesterday in a separate tragic incident.
Emergency services were called to The Haven Boat Ramp at Terrigal at about 5pm following reports a man had been pulled from the water unconscious.
Police were told the man fell from the rocks into the water while walking along Terrigal Haven.
A person in a nearby boat came to the man’s aid, pulling him from the water and taking him to the boat ramp.
Witnesses assisted while police performed CPR until NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived.
The man died while being transported to Gosford Hospital.
He is yet to be formally identified but is believed to be a 62-year-old man from Kellyville Ridge.
A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.