Tragic reason jet ski rider lost his life

The family of a jet ski rider killed in a tragic accident on the Gold Coast have waited seven long years for a definitive answer about what happened. Today they finally got it.

The qualified Seadoo mechanic was killed almost instantly after a collision during the Australian Watercross Nationals at The Spit.

Mr Scaturchio, who grew up riding jet skis, was competing in a 12-lap professional class closed race circuit. Riders pulled the 22-year-old from the water, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

He died from massive chest injuries.

People comfort each other on the day of the accident.
People comfort each other on the day of the accident.

Seven years later Coroner Graham Lee was able to say what caused the fatal crash.

Mr Lee stated in his findings it was most likely rider Aero Aswar "bumped or tapped" Mr Scaturchio's jet ski, forcing it to then collide with a third rider Marshall Lewis as they all negotiated the fourth buoy.

"The bump or tap from Mr Aswar's (jet ski) was likely very slight and commonly referred to in (jet ski) racing terms as 'race rubbing'," Mr Lee found.

Mr Lee's findings come after years of uncertainty about Mr Scaturchio's death.

The collision was originally ruled to be caused by Mr Scaturchio "spinning out" as he turned at the buoy, putting him in the path of Mr Lewis.

But his family did not accept this.

Joseph Scaturchio was a qualified Seadoo mechanic who grew up riding jet skis.
Joseph Scaturchio was a qualified Seadoo mechanic who grew up riding jet skis.

The Scaturchio family pushed for a coronial inquest, alleging Mr Lewis was on the wrong side of the buoy as he approached the turn.

Their protests were enough to bring about an inquest.

During the inquest enhanced video footage showed Mr Aswar's jet ski giving a glancing blow to Mr Scaturchio's craft.

"The change in direction of Mr Scaturchio's (jet ski) was outside his control and it did not result from his error," Mr Lee wrote in his findings.

A jet ski is examined by police on the day of the accident.
A jet ski is examined by police on the day of the accident.

Mr Lee also found from the video evidence that Mr Lewis was on the correct side of the buoy as he approached the turn.

Mr Lee said the quality of the videos of the incident made it difficult to determine.

He recommended: "The Australia Jet Sporting Boat Association (AJSBA) considers amending its rules and implement the requirement for all race participants to utilise waterproof on-board cameras, attached to individuals, helmets or jet skis, for both preparation/trial and race laps at events."

Since the crash the AJSBA has also introduced a mandatory two-buoy system on turns more than 90 degrees.

That means riders must go round two buoys when negotiating tight turns during races.



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