Waterskier Sarah Teelow Killed In Accident

Waterskier Sarah Teelow Killed In Accident

The death of a world champion waterskier after a high-speed fall during a race near Sydney is being investigated by police.

Australian Sarah Teelow, 20, came off a ski in the opening moments of the Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic on the Hawkesbury River on Sunday.

She sustained serious spinal and head injuries and was airlifted to hospital but died on Monday evening.

Ray Patterson, the father of Darren Patterson, who was in the boat observing Ms Teelow, told the Sydney Morning Herald: ''There is no rhyme or reason to it.

"It's just an awkward fall. It's not dangerous. It's no more dangerous than playing football.''

Ms Teelow was the seventh waterskier to die in an accident in the country in the last five years, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

The university student from Wellington, New South Wales, won the Women's World Formula Two championship in the Canary Islands in September.

Ski Racing Australia described her as "one of the sport's most accomplished young competitors".

"The ski racing fraternity is deeply saddened by Sarah's passing and extends its condolences to her family," it said in a statement.

"Ski Racing Australia is co-operating with police and maritime authorities in their investigations."

Ski Racing Australia said it did not know what caused the accident with conditions good and the sea slight at the time.

The Bridge to Bridge race runs from the mouth of the Hawkesbury River to Windsor.

Skiers can reach speeds exceeding 80mph (130 kph) in the 69-mile (112km) race.

Ski Racing NSW paid tribute to Ms Teelow on its website, saying: "Sarah represents all that is good about our sport and its competitors and it is a great sadness to acknowledge that she will not be gracing our waters again.

"A beautiful girl and a great competitor she will be sorely missed."

Ms Teelow's mother, Tania, is herself a double world champion waterskier.

In 2008 Mrs Teelow was reportedly involved in a high-speed waterskiing crash at Wiseman's Ferry that left her with a broken sternum, fractured vertebrae and other major injuries.