Replica release may help police with Copeton drownings

A REPLICA water release took place from Copeton Dam yesterday of the same amount that could have contributed to last week’s tragic boating accident on the Gwydir River.

On the same day two North Narrabeen Surf Living Saving Club members were killed after their boat capsized near Bingara   last Tuesday, a water release to supply local irrigators was believed 

to have been authorised by the State Water Corporation. 

Barwon police have requested water flow documents from the corporation after they found the boat that capsized could have become unstable in the conditions caused by the release.

Police requested yesterday’s release to replicate last Tuesday’s amount as part of their investigations into the fatal accident.

A spokesman for State Water said on the day the accident occurred, 1400 megalitres – the equivalent of 560 olympic-sized swimming pools – were released over a 24-hour period.

That amount is considered a small to medium release and was replicated yesterday.

It came the same day the funeral service of one of the victims of the accident, 55-year-old Jane Clitheroe, was held at North Sydney.

A funeral will be held in Narrabeen on Monday for the second victim, four-year-old Elizabeth Tucker.

Both died after the aluminium surfboat they were travelling in with five others on the river flipped about 30km downstream from Copeton Dam.

While the five others managed to escape, Mrs Clitheroe and Elizabeth were trapped underneath the vessel.

Barwon police say the coroner will determine the cause of their deaths but they were looking closely at yesterday’s water release.

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