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Death of experienced windsurfer a tragic accident, coroner says

The death of a Queenstown woman while windsurfing on Lake Wakatipu this year was a "tragic accident", Otago Southland Regional coroner David Crerar has found. In his formal findings released at the weekend, Mr Crerar said office worker Judith Kaye Green (51) died at Woolshed Bay on February 16 after she fell from her board.

Evidence suggested she was struck by a hard object, her board, mast or boom, causing "superficial injuries" to her head which caused her to lose consciousness.

She drowned as a result. The inquest was held in Queenstown on September 5.

Mr Crerar said it was tempting to make a recommendation about the dangers of solo windsurfing, pursuant to 57 (3) of the Coroners Act 2006.

"If Jude Green had been surfing in the company of others, it may be that she could have been rescued from her unconscious state and resuscitated," he said.

"I accept, however, the information I have been given by expert windsurfers to the effect that it is unlikely that two or more windsurfers . . . would be able to look out for and look after their companion.

There are issues of visibility and proximity which conspire to make the buddy surfer an impractical proposal."

She was experienced and expert, using appropriate equipment and taking all safety precautions.

"Her death was just one of those events which sometimes occur.

"The only way for us to be totally safe is to sit ourselves in front of a television all of the time.

"I do not think that this would have been the preferred use of recreational time by Jude Green."

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