A skier was killed during a Southern 80 water sports event near the VIC-NSW border
Emergency services were called to an area near Perikota Road, Moama, at around 10am on Sunday after reports of a man seriously injured.
Upon arrival, Victoria paramedics found a man who died at the scene.
While he has not yet been officially identified, the man is understood to be Luke Wentworth, a member of the Gasa ski racing team.
As news of the incident spread, sporting teams and bodies took to social media to pay tribute to Mr Wentworth.
“Such a super guy, we will sadly miss him and that smile. Our thoughts are with you all,” Troy Jeffries said on behalf of the Venom Ski Racing Team.
“A very sad day in the ski racing family today,” said Dave McCallum, of the Lab Ski Race Team. We lost a family member doing what he loved.
“My condolences to his family and God speed… Thoughts and prayers are with the family at this tragic time.”
Fellow skater Nick Patterson added: “Sad day for the sport. TGM team’s thoughts with participants.”
“Such sad news a legend of a man. Our condolences to the Gasa family,” wrote Jeff Rowe of the General Lee team.
“From our team to yours, our hearts and thoughts go out to you guys, if there is anything we can do please reach out,” Dog House Ski Racing said.
“We send our deepest condolences to this young man’s family, crew and friends,” Ski Racing NSW also wrote on Sunday.
In a Facebook post, the Gasa ski racing team said they “only have sad news at the moment” and urged people to be careful and help support the team.
The incident led to the closure of the popular event less than an hour after it started on Sunday.
Moama Chief Inspector Paul Haggett said emergency services in both Victoria and NSW responded to reports that a male skier in his early 40s had “fallen”.
While investigations were in their infancy, Mr Haggett reportedly denied claims that a swimmer in the river may have caused the accident or that low water levels were to blame.
“It affects the whole community, from the emergency services to the guy running the fish and chip shop,” he said.
“This will impact the community for months to come, long after everyone has returned home.”
The annual racing event involves two skiers racing down an 80km track and 126p at speeds exceeding 100km.
Steve Shipp, president of the Moama Water Sports Club, said in a statement that the skier who was competing in the race fell and was unable to be revived.
“The race was immediately suspended and has since been cancelled,” Mr Shipp said.
“The club is cooperating with NSW Police and Transport for NSW – Maritime, in their investigations into the incident.
“As a ski racing family, we are here to support the affected family and team members as well as the wider ski racing community at this very sad time.”
The death is understood to be the seventh since the start of the event, with organizers reportedly analyzing breathing kits and sweeping the river before the start.
Officers attached to Murray River District Police have since launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Anyone with information about the incident or video footage is urged to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
(tags for translation) Crime Stoppers