20 Oct 2014

Otago Boys' reviewing safety policies

6:15 pm on 20 October 2014

Otago Boys' High School is reviewing its safety policies after a rowing coach lost control of his power boat, crashing it into eight students, rector Ian Rennie says.

rowers

Photo: PHOTO NZ

Eight students from Otago Boys' High School were rowing on the harbour yesterday when their 91-year-old coach, Fred Strachan, lost control of his power boat and crashed into them.

Three rowers were taken to hospital; one has since been discharged, while another, with a broken collar bone and severe concussion, is being kept in for observation.

The third boy, whose arm was hit by the power boat's propeller blades, has been transferred to Christchurch Hospital.

Otago Boys Rector Clive Rennie did not know why he had been transferred but said there was no suggestion he would lose his arm.

However, it was no yet known whether he would make a full recovery, Mr Rennie told Checkpoint.

"It was a reasonably serious injury but ... I don't know the details so I can't say whether or not he will."

It was the first accident Mr Strachan had had in many years of coaching, and he was upset by it, Mr Rennie said.

Mr Strachan was the only person in the boat when he slipped yesterday morning, and the school would review its safety guidelines, he said.

"We'll look at a few of our processes and make sure that perhaps we've got it right.

"There's no rule that says you need two in a boat but we'll obviously consider that.

"In most cases, we do have, which makes it easier for whoever's coaching," Mr Rennie said.

Maritime New Zealand is investigating the accident.