Casino man named as bar victim

POLICE have confirmed the Casino man who died in Tuesday's boating tragedy at Ballina was 64-year-old pensioner Raymond Ensby.

Mr Ensby is thought to have suffered a heart attack after the boat he was in with three others overturned while attempting to cross the Ballina bar at low tide.

Ballina Jet Boat Rescue captain, Garry Meredith, said all four men were trapped under the overturned boat and he believed they had to remove their lifejacket to get free.

He helped rescue two men who were clinging to the boat after the first two men were picked up by a passing boat and jet ski rider a short time before.

Mr Ensby was found unconscious and taken to the Lance Ferris Wharf at Fawcetts Park by the first boat, where the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was waiting.

A crewman and paramedic continued CPR until ambulance paramedics arrived a short time later. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The young man who rescued Mr Ensby and performed CPR en route was still too distraught after the ordeal to comment yesterday.

NSW Maritime issued analert yesterday to boaters on the North Coast to take extra care when going offshore after a hectic day for emergency services following the Ballina incident and two others at Evans Head.

All incidents involved bar crossings at low tide.

NSW Maritime spokesman Neil Patchett said onshore winds and an outgoing tide created the treacherous conditions.

“Bar crossings are almost always challenging and require extra caution. They are best attempted when the wind and tide are running in the same direction, and at the higher end of the tide range,” he said.

“They can be particularly difficult when the wind and tide are working against each other, and even more so when the tide is nearing absolute low.

“All skippers need to take extra care on bars and, of course, everyone on board must wear a lifejacket for the crossing.”

NSW Maritime boating safety officers responded to the incidents and the authority is liaising with police.

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Paul Fredericks said investigators were preparing a brief for the coroner.

For more information on safe boating on bar crossings go to: http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/sbh/special_areas.html#bc



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