Warning: Skier could be killed at Newferry

JET skiers ‘tailgating’ skiers on the lower River Bann could result in someone being killed, Magherafelt District Council heard.

Councillors were told that concerns were raised during recent good weather about the dangerous practice at Newferry, near Bellaghy.

Chief executive John McLaughlin said there was the possibility of a fatal accident occurring as there was little room for evasive action if a skier fell into the water while being closely followed by a jet ski.

Mr McLaughlin said the matter needed to be highlighted and brought to the attention of the public.

He stressed that the council had to consider ways of preventing the practice, including the closure of the slipway.

Council Chair Councillor Paul McLean agreed it was a dangerous practice and asked how the council could stop it happening.

Councillor Sean Kerr said there was an immediate threat to life and the council must be seen to take action.

Councillor McLean suggested liaising with neighbouring Ballymena Council might be a way of dealing with the problem.

Councillor Kerr remarked it was just unfortunate that skiers could be effected by any action taken by the council.

The council agreed to monitor the situation at Newferry and liaise with Ballymena Council over the summer.

Meanwhile, the council heard that a two-day ‘diffing’ event at the Newferry picnic site resulted in anti-social behaviour.

A member of the public had complained to the council about the activities of youths, including one who had to be fished from the river after he got into difficulties attempting to swim to the jetty on the Antrim bank.

Members heard the site was littered with drinks cans and broken glass following the event. A mechanical sweeper and mobile squad were dispatched to clean up the area.