The wreckage of the boat that was involved in the horror crash that killed six people.
The wreckage of the boat that was involved in the horror crash that killed six people. Northern Star

Tweed skipper horror

A NORTHERN Rivers man involved in Thursday's fatal boating accident on Sydney Harbour has been described as a responsible boat operator with years of experience.

Matthew Reynolds, 31, who has lived in the Tweed area all his life, was the skipper of the runabout that had 14 young people aboard when it collided with a larger fishing boat near Bradley's Head about 2.40am Thursday.

Four women and two men died in the crash and nine others were taken to hospital with injuries.

A local man who previously employed Mr Reynolds described him as a responsible and experienced boat operator who always put safety first.

"He's always driven trawlers, he's well known around here.

He's driven his dad's charter boat and has got plenty of experience," he said.

Mr Reynolds' father, Charlie, who runs Tweed Fishing Charters, was yesterday at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital where his son remained in the intensive care unit suffering spinal injuries.

Intensive care unit chief Dr Ray Raper said it appeared Mr Reynolds may be transferred to the ward.

Only one other victim, a 19-year-old woman, remained in hospital yesterday.

Reports have suggested the 23-foot half-cabin runabout, which is only licensed to hold eight passengers, was taken without permission from the owners.

Police said they had initially spoken with Mr Reynolds but were waiting for his condition to improve before conducting a formal interview.

They also took blood samples from a number of people involved, including Mr Reynolds, to test for alcohol and drugs.

A Tweed River Charter Operators Association spokeswoman said Mr Reynolds was known to those in the Tweed boating industry. "A few of the guys knew him, but they are too upset to talk at the moment," she said.

An employee of Sydney Ship Repair and Engineering, the company that owns the boat, confirmed Mr Reynolds was not an employee but a contractor.

Police have released the names of five of the six who died in the accident, with one woman's family still to be told.


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