Water ski champion Sarah dies
World champion water skier Sarah Teelow has died in hospital after an accident she sustained during competition on Sunday.PT0M10S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2y79b 620 349 November 26, 2013
Sarah Teelow has died in hospital following a water-skiing accident in the Bridge to Bridge race on the Hawkesbury River.
The 20-year-old champion water-skier crashed just after the start of the high-speed 121-kilometre race on Sunday morning. Police said she sustained serious spinal and head injuries and was treated at the scene by emergency crews. She was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition.
Teelow was placed on life support but she died about 8pm on Monday.
Died in hospital: Sarah Teelow. Photo: Supplied
The national body for ski racing confirmed Teelow's death, describing 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. Ski Racing Australia is co-operating with police and maritime authorities in their investigations," said Kristie Middleton, the chief executive of Ski Racing Australia.
Friends of Teelow, who was a human movement student at the University of Technology Sydney, paid tribute to her on social media.
"We have so many fun and happy memories together, the type that I'll never forget, your hugs, your laugh. Love you too bits sare ..we will never forget you," one friend wrote.
Another wrote: "Devastating news that has rocked us all, thoughts are with her family and team mates."
"R.I.P Sarah Teelow you were such a awesome and humble person. Watch over your family and friends from heaven," wrote another.
She is the daughter of Tania Teelow a two-time world champion water skier.
Tania Teelow made headlines in 2008 when she was involved in a high-speed water skiing crash at Wiseman's Ferry that left her with a broken sternum, fractured vertebrae and other major injuries.
The driver and observer on the boat towing Teelow are in shock following the accident.
''They can't believe what has happened,'' said Ray Patterson, the father of Darren Patterson, who was in the boat observing Teelow. ''There is no rhyme or reason to it. Darren has 25 years' experience as an observer.
''It's just an awkward fall. It's not dangerous. It's no more dangerous than playing football.''
Mr Patterson said the driver, Danny Knappic, had just returned from the World Water Ski Racing Championships in Spain where he competed with Teelow, who won the formula 2 category.
There have been six other deaths caused by water-skiing accidents in Australia in the past five years, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show. It is not known at what speed Teelow was travelling but skiers reach speeds of up to 140km/h in the race.
The Bridge to Bridge race runs along the Hawkesbury River, from the mouth of the river to Windsor.
Ken McManus, a spokesman for Marine Rescue NSW, who supplied five safety vessels for the event, said the conditions were good and there were no excessive winds.
Mr McManus said there was another accident near Butterfly Farm, at the Windsor end of the river, shortly after Teelow's fall. ''Another skier came off but there was no serious injury,'' he said.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner. Officers attached to Ku-ring-gai Local Area Command are continuing investigations and are renewing their appeal for any witnesses to contact them.
They have urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.