Five young people were killed in a boat crash in Sydney Harbour yesterday when a fishing vessel slammed into an overcrowded cruiser apparently out on an illegal overnight joyride.
All nine other people aboard the cruiser were injured, one of them critically, in the accident, which happened in the pre-dawn darkness not far from the city’s iconic Harbour Bridge.
Police said the dead, four women and a man, were all in their teens and early 20s. The early signs pointed to an evening of merry-making that went tragically wrong.
“This is every parent’s nightmare,” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.
“People go out to celebrate and have a good time, and for this to be the end of it is just breathtaking,” he said.
Police said the five victims died at the scene, while an 18-year-old woman and eight men in their 20s and early 30s were taken to hospital. The two people on the fishing boat were not hurt.
The owner of the cruiser, John McPherson, said he had no idea why it was not at its mooring when the accident happened.
All his staff had been accounted for, he said — adding that a spare set of keys was always kept on board.
“It appears that somebody had decided that they are going to take our boat for a joyride, and this horrible event has happened,” McPherson said.