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Published: 2013-01-05 00:00:00

The lives of two people on board a boat which flipped and then sank on Lake Karapiro last night were saved because they were wearing lifejackets, says Waikato Regional Council.

A fibreglass boat with two people onboard was pulling a waterskier when the vessel struck waves being created by wakeboarders.

The ski boat's skipper has told the council's navigation safety team that the vessel hit troughs of air before striking the waves. The boat then flipped, throwing and skipper and onboard observer into the water.

The observer, a man aged in his late 20s, was taken to Waikato Hospital suffering broken ribs and a bruised lung. He remains in hospital, but his condition is unknown.

The badly damaged boat sunk and was today winched from a depth of 29 metres from the bottom of the lake. Minimal amounts of fuel and oil spilled from the vessel and evaporated in today's heat.

“The lives of the two people onboard were probably saved because they were wearing correctly-fitting lifejackets,” said the council's navigation safety programme manager, Nicole Botherway.

“This incident highlights that nobody has to be doing something wrong on the water for a terrible incident to occur and while one person has been injured, the outcome could have been more tragic if lifejackets weren't being worn,” Mrs Botherway said. 

An incident report will now be filed by the skipper with Maritime New Zealand and Waikato Regional Council for follow up.