A 12-year-old boy has died after being run over by a jetboat, in an incident locals say was avoidable.
It happened when the boy was being towed behind another vessel, on the Blue Lake at St Bathans, and concerns had been raised before about boating on the small lake.
It was an end to Boxing Day that families fear – the body of a12-year-old carried to Dunedin Hospital after being killed in a horror crash on the water.
"Two boats, both with families on board, both towing biscuits with the young people on board, and unfortunately one of the people being towed on the biscuit – a 12-year-old boy – has been hit and he has died as a result of his injuries," says Senior Sergeant Ian Kirrisk.
The accident took place on a small, man-made lake, just 800 metres long, as the boat travelled around a narrow corner.
Holiday-goers were back in the water today, with flowers and a candle left at the scene a reminder of the tragic event.
The quiet community has been left shocked. The young boy, whose body is with the coroner, lived in the area.
"It's a tragic time for the family right at Christmas," says Snr Sgt Kirrisk. "We will do what we can to get him back to the family, but it will hit this community hard."
Police investigating say no alcohol was involved and everyone was wearing lifejackets. They're now piecing together how the boat and biscuit collided.
Warning signs installed two years ago restrict boaties using the lake. Locals living in the area told 3 News concerns have been raised about boating on the water, and many want a total ban put in place.
"There's a limit of the boats on there because of that, and we know that there were only the two boats on there," says Snr Sgt Kirrisk. "Unfortunately they've met at what is quite a narrow part of the lake."
A nine-year-old was killed in a similar incident on Kawarau Lake in 2009.
Maritime New Zealand says boaties need to take extra care at this time of year so more lives aren't lost on New Zealand waters.