A female patient is carried to a helicopter after a boating accident on Lake Dunstan in January 2011, when a jet boat hit a submerged sandbar near Panners Cove near Cromwell on Lake Dunstan. Photo by Craig Baxter.
High flows in the Kawarau River this summer have scoured out
a sandbank in Lake Dunstan between Cromwell and Bannockburn -
removing a hazard which often caught out boat users. Lake
Dunstan harbourmaster Shayne Hitchcock told the Clutha
Management Committee last week the high river flows resulted
in ''flushing'' of the lakebed, which was good news for boat
''The largest area of the sandbank between Bannockburn and
Cromwell has been scoured out to have the centre of the
river/lake at a depth of over a metre deep. There have not
been any reported groundings through this area so far,'' he
said. The sandbank had caused problems for boat users in the
''We've had people running aground there, regardless of the
warning signs. The scouring from the high flows has worked
very well in removing the sandbank.''
In January 2011, an Alexandra woman was knocked unconscious
after the boat she was in ran aground on the sandbank. A
helicopter landed on the sandbar to airlift her to Dunedin
Hospital and she was later treated and discharged from
Mr Hitchcock said there had been high flows for much of the
''A lot of sediment is still coming through.''
Committee chairman Gordon Stewart pointed out ''what's there
now, could change in winter''. In his education and
enforcement report to the committee, Mr Hitchcock said it was
another good season, with no accidents reported, but was
probably the windiest season so far on the lake.
''There seems to be more people that have done most of their
boating in the Waitaki lakes now preferring Lake Dunstan.''
He suggested more pontoons for swimmers be added to the lake,
at the Lowburn swim area and at Old Cromwell, off the Old
Cromwell jetty, when the budget allowed. Pontoons made of
plastic would cost about $10,000 each.