Death of the Nepean River: Woman dies after boat capsized on Australia Day

Police have revealed their desperate attempt to rescue a woman who died after being caught in money laundering when her family’s boat capsized in a Sydney river.

A woman has died and four people have been injured after a boat capsized in a horrific incident in Sydney’s west yesterday.

Emergency services were called to the Nepean River in Penrith around 12.40pm on Wednesday after reports that a boat with five people on board had capsized.

It is understood that the family was out on tinny when it inadvertently went over Penrith Weir and sent them flying out of the boat.

Ten paramedics, NSW Police, PolAir, Rural Fire Service and Brand and Rescue NSW crews were dispatched to the scene as part of a multi-agency rescue operation.

Acting Superintendent of Nepean Police Area Command, Naomi Moore, told Sunrise the police were facing a “chaotic scene” when they arrived at the river.

“They were not sure how many boat users had been in the water or were in the water at the time, but they could see a female that was clearly trapped in the limestone at the overflow,” she said.

Police tried to reach the 33-year-old woman by tightening ropes around herself and trying to get into the waterway.

“Shortly after entering, it was clear that the water was just too dangerous and they had to leave the water and wait on the shore and call for further help,” Ms Moore said.

The emergency services were forced to wait for “quite a long time” before the woman was eventually pushed out of the limestone and began to move down the river.

“Police ran up to 800m along the river bank following the woman down the river, keeping an eye on her and looking at places where they could enter the waterway to rescue her. It was quite confrontational, ”she said.

The woman, who has not yet been formally identified, was pulled unconscious out of the water and treated by paramedics.

Unfortunately, she could not be resuscitated and died shortly after.

Two men and two teenagers – believed to be the woman’s partner, father and children – were rescued from the water and taken to Nepean Hospital for observation and treatment of minor injuries.

Mrs Moore physically said the rest of the family is okay, but they are struggling “no doubt” emotionally and psychologically.

They were all discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon.

NSW Ambulance acting superintendent Greg Marshall branded the situation “tragic”.

“This is a tragic end for this family on what should have been a fun day out on the water this Australia Day,” he said.

“It was a complex rescue operation with several people in the water when ambulance people arrived at the scene.

“We worked closely with police, fire and rescue and SES to get them out as quickly and safely as possible.

“This is a reminder to everyone out on the water this summer about how quickly things can turn around. Paramedics are urging people to be careful.”

An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Penrith Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A man also died on the Central Coast yesterday in a separate tragic incident.

Emergency services were called to The Haven Boat Ramp at Terrigal around 5pm after reports that a man had been pulled up out of the water unconscious.

Police were told the man fell from the rocks into the water as he walked along Terrigal Haven.

A person in a nearby boat came to the man’s aid, pulled him out of the water and took him to the boat ramp.

Witnesses assisted while police performed CPR until NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived.

The man died while being transported to Gosford Hospital.

He is not yet formally identified, but is believed to be a 62-year-old man from Kellyville Ridge.

A report will be prepared for the information of the forensic pathologist.

alexandra.foster@news.com.au

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