Near tragedy after second boat capsized on Nepean River

Emergency services on site at Nepean River on Sunday. Photo: Megan Dunn.
Share this story

Just days after a 33-year-old woman died on Australia Day, another group of boaters were involved in a near tragedy on Nepean River in Penrith this afternoon.

A family boating day turned to trouble as three adults and two children had to be winched to safety after their boat hit the Penrith Weir and capsized.

About 3.15pm on Sunday, January 30, emergency services were called to the Nepean River, near Bruce Neale Drive, after reports a boat with five people on board had overturned.

A multi-agency rescue operation commenced involving officers attached to Nepean Police Area Command, PolAir, NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Ambulance paramedics.

NSW Ambulance Acting Inspector, Peter Van Praag told the Weekender that life jackets most certainly saved the lives of the children involved in the incident.

“When NSW Ambulance arrived five people were in the water being pulled under by the force of the water pouring over the weir, with one adult patient being struck between the boat and weir,” Acting Inspector Van Praag said.

“We actually lost sight of the children at one point as they were getting pulled under the raging water.

It was incredibly difficult for the people on scene, both the bystanders and emergency services to be confronted by this situation where they are helpless and unable to assist in the water.”

All of the occupants were rescued by police helicopter before being assessed and treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics on scene.

A man was taken to Westmead Hospital in a critical but stable condition.

Two adults – a 34-year-old man and 27-year-old woman – were taken to Nepean Hospital in a stable condition.

Two children – a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl – were taken to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in a stable condition.

The boat will be towed to shore for further examination as inquiries into the incident continue.

The boat will be towed to shore for further examination. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Acting Inspector Van Praag said the incident could have had a very different conclusion.

“NSW Ambulance has responded to this location a number of times in recent months with one person sadly losing their life just on Australia Day so it is a real reminder of just how different today’s events could have been,” he said.

The Weekender has reached out to Water NSW for comment regarding warning signage and buoys that were reportedly washed away in last years floods and never replaced.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or

Share this story