'Very slight' bump led to jetskier's death

Warren Barnsley

Joseph Scaturchio lived and breathed jetskis.

He started riding them aged 12 and was racing competitively four years later.

He was also a jetski mechanic and his father Tony was president of Victorian Jet Sports Boating Association.

But a minor bump, a regular occurrence in the chaos of jetski racing, would lead to his death.

Mr Scaturchio, from Victoria, was 22 when he travelled to the Gold Coast to compete in the Australian Watercross National Championships in April 2012.

He was competing in the Pro Stock Race, which required negotiating a series of straights and turns indicated by buoys, with 10 others.

At a congested turn at the fourth buoy, Mr Scaturchio came unstuck.

He was nudged slightly from behind by a then 17-year-old racer Aero Aswar, from Indonesia.

The impact led Mr Scaturchio to spin out where he was unavoidably struck by another competitor's jetski coming from behind.

It caused his fatal injuries, including a fractured sternum, haemorrhage to his chest cavities and the collapse of both lungs.

"The bump or tap from Mr Aswar's PWC (personal water craft) was likely very slight," Queensland coroner Graham Lee found on Monday.

"Mr Scaturchio's PWC was at the limit of adhesion with the water and took very little force from Mr Aswar's PWC to interrupt or break traction."

Mr Lee made his findings after a two-day inquest which heard Mr Scaturchio was face down in the water when the rider of the third jetski, Marshall Lewis, came to his immediate aid.

He was taken to shore by a rescue jetski but could not be revived.

Mr Lee on Monday recommended all jet skis in Australian racing competitions be fitted with on-board cameras.

He said analysis of the crash was limited by unclear footage which was obstructed by water spray.