Woman permanently disabled on high-speed boat ride

The 60yo broke her back after the catamaran slammed into a wave in the Bay of Islands.
The 60yo broke her back after the catamaran slammed into a wave in the Bay of Islands. Photo credit: Getty

A woman has had her back broken after a high-speed ride on a tourist vessel in the Bay of Islands went horrifically wrong.

Raewyn Russell, 60, was a passenger on the 'Mack Attack' - a catamaran that can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h.

In 2014, Mrs Russell was sitting in the front row of seats. As the vessel was nearing Cape Brett it struck a large wave at a high speed and landed heavily. Mrs Russell heard a crack in her back and doubled over in pain.

Mrs Russell was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital and found to have a fracture in her eleventh thoracic vertebrae.

In the Auckland District Court on Monday, Seafort Holdings Limited and its sole director and shareholder, Richard John Prentice, was ordered to pay fines and reparations of over $93,000.

Judge CJ Field found Prentice hadn't warned Ms Russell of the risk of back injuries when sitting at the front of the vessel.

"This injury is a permanent disability which has resulted in Mrs Russell giving up her career," Judge Field said.

"Mrs Russell did not have the opportunity to make her own informed choice about where to sit based on [her] knowledge of [her] physiology and [her] appetite for risk".

Newshub.