'Sorry' over boat deaths

TWEED Heads man Matthew Reynolds has told Sydney media he is 'terribly sorry' for the six lives lost in last Thursday's Sydney Harbour boat tragedy.

In a surprise move, Mr Reynolds, 31, spoke to a reporter in Sydney about the accident in which an overcrowded runabout and a fishing trawler collided, killing six people, including his girlfriend, Ashlei Ayres, 32.
 
Mr Reynolds, well known in the Tweed's boating community and whose father Charlie Reynolds runs Tweed Fishing Charters, has been recovering from spinal injuries in Royal North Shore Hospital since the accident and is believed to have only briefly spoken to police.

However, he spoke to a reporter over the weekend, saying how sorry he was about the loss of lives in the accident and praising the staff at the hospital for their hard work.

"I'm so terribly sorry," a distraught Matthew Reynolds said in the report.

"I'm emotionally very upset ... I'm so terribly sorry that six lives have been lost.

"I'm in a lot of pain, but the staff here at Royal North Shore Hospital have been fantastic to me and I'm very appreciative of everything the doctors and nurses have done."

Police are yet to formally interview Mr Reynolds to obtain an account of his role in the incident in which his runabout, with 14 young people on board, collided with the fishing trawler.

But Sydney media reported he will state his boat was fully lit when it was hit, despite reports to the contrary by the trawler's occupants.

They also stated Mr Reynolds' girlfriend, Ashlie Ayres, 32, was one of the dead.

Since the interview hit the stands police are believed to be keen to renew talks with Mr Reynolds.

It is understood officers will ask Mr Reynolds how the group came to be aboard the runabout, given its owner had not given permission for its use.

Mr Reynolds' father, Charlie, is well-known in the Tweed Heads community.

Charlie Reynolds, a former Point Danger Volunteer Marine Rescue operations chief, travelled to Sydney last week to be at his son's bedside, where he is believed to still be in intensive care with a broken vertebra.

The five who died at the scene of the collision have been named as Jessica Holloway, 25, Alex Rumiz, 22, Stacey Wright, 21, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Holder, 20, and Ashlie Ayres.

Alex Nikakis, 29, died in hospital on Thursday night as a result of severe brain injuries.


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