Victim relives deadly boat crash

  • New Zealand visitor: Mary McKee knocked unconscious and drowned (Photograph supplied)

    New Zealand visitor: Mary McKee knocked unconscious and drowned (Photograph supplied)

A man knocked unconscious in a crash between two boats told of his horror when he woke up and found his wife was missing.

Arthur McKee fought back tears yesterday as he relived the aftermath of the collision that led to his wife’s death.

He told the Supreme Court: “I just remember something horrendous happening.

“I came to in the bilge of the boat, in the well. I looked up and there was no one else on the boat, and it was so dark.

“I recall screaming for Mary. I was trying to call her, trying to find her. I couldn’t see any boats around me either.”

The court heard that Mary McKee, 62, who was visiting the island from New Zealand with her husband for the America’s Cup, was knocked unconscious in the collision and drowned.

Andrew Lake, 27, from Southampton, the driver of the other boat involved, has denied manslaughter.

The crash happened only hours after the couple arrived in Bermuda on June 1 last year.

Mr McKee, from Christchurch, said the couple had planned to stay on a catamaran and watch the races from there.

The couple were delivered to the catamaran and met the captain, Charlie Watson.

They were later taken to shore for dinner with others and returned to Barr’s Park a little after 10.30pm to go back to their boat.

Mr McKee said the guests had been taken to shore on an 8-metre semi-inflatable, but they were collected with two smaller boats.

He helped other guests get into the larger of the two boats while he, his wife and Mr Watson got on board the smaller one.

Mr McKee said they did not wear life jackets.

He explained: “It was a still night. The water was like glass and we had a boat beside us.

“We were quite within our comfort zone.”

Mr McKee said it was only after they pulled away from shore that he realised how dark it was.

He added: “When we got into the channel, it was really black and dark on the water. There was no moon that night.”

Mr McKee said he watched the front of the boat in an attempt to spot obstructions.

He did not see the boat that struck them and only remembered a “horrendous” noise.

Mr McKee said: “I turned my head to the left-hand side and this other boat came from behind and hit us.”

He told the court that the impact fractured his skull and cracked his jaw.

Mr McKee was picked up by another boat from the catamaran minutes after he regained consciousness.

He said: “I told them not to worry about me. I said, ‘I have got to find Mary — she’s still in the water’.

“They went around looking for her in the water, but it was just so black. They were asking me questions and I kept repeating myself.

“I had no idea what hit us, how it hit us. I just couldn’t work out that something like this happened or could have happened.”

Shaunte Simons, for the prosecution, told the jury that Mr McKee’s boat was struck by a motorboat piloted by Mr Lake.

Ms Simons said: “Mr Lake drove his boat into and over the boat that Arthur, Mary and Charlie Watson were in. When he drove over their boat, he hit Mary and she fell unconscious. After that point, she drowned.”

The jury also heard evidence from Diana Boyland, a police forensic support officer, who said she was called to the ferry terminal at Albouy’s Point minutes after midnight on June 2.

When she arrived, she was asked to photograph a pair of boats that police believed were involved in a collision.

Ms Boyland said one was a grey and yellow semi-rigid inflatable boat that appeared to have suffered damage to its engine and had a deflated rear right side.

She saw bloodstains, a damaged engine cover and two bright orange life preservers on board.

The second boat, a 17ft Mako motorboat, also appeared to have some bloodstains near the bow.

Ms Boyland also photographed the boats after they had been taken out of the water.

She said that the Mako, called Lazy Buoy, had a blue hull with several long scrapes along the bottom and scratches to the bottom of the engine.

The semi-rigid inflatable had long blue and black marks across its top, and a puncture on the rear right side.

Ms Boyland photographed the damage, along with blood and “bodily tissue” found on the boat.

She told Jerome Lynch, defence counsel, that it appeared that Lazy Buoy had struck the inflatable and passed over the boat from the right rear to the left front.

Ms Boyland could see no evidence of lights on the smaller boat. She said: “Nothing had been brought to my attention, no.”

She added that, although she described the inflatable as grey and yellow, it was mostly grey with a thin yellow line around the hull.

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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