Two American students were killed in an accident in Copenhagen harbour last night, when their rental boat was struck by a jetski.
According to media reports, seven American students from DIS Study Abroad in Scandinavia were in the boat that they had rented from the company GoBoat.
They were sailing in the harbour at the same time as a group of young people on jetskis, which are not allowed in the harbour.
Witnesses told Ekstra Bladet that one of the jetskis lost control and flew over the top of the GoBoat, striking the passengers, while traveling around 50 kilometres an hour.
After the accident at around 19:45 on Saturday night, the jetskis sped out of the harbour, but police were waiting for them in Brøndby harbour when they arrived. Seven men and a woman were arrested.
In court today, the suspects denied that they were behaving recklessly or sailing too quickly because they were only in first gear, according to Ekstra Bladet.
Jetskis are prohibited from the harbour unless an agreement has been made with the police. The speed limit for boat traffic is 11 kilometres per hour.
Politiken reports that a man who was flying a drone over the harbour has handed in video evidence to the police, which may show the jetskis travelling at over 90 kilometres an hour.
The 24-year-old driver of the jetski that killed the students was visibly upset in court today and cried during the proceedings. He has been held on remand for 25 days and charged with involuntary manslaughter. It’s not his first brush with the law, according to Ekstra Bladet – he has served time in prison for both violence and robbery, and is currently on probation.
DIS released a statement today following the deaths of its two students:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of two DIS students who were killed in a boating accident on May 6th, 2017. Five other DIS students were injured and have since been released from the hospital.”
Counselling has been offered to affected students, and a vigil is being held outside the GoBoat offices tonight from 20:00, Islands Brygge 10.
Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor has promised to crack down on reckless jetski users after the tragic accident.
“Two young Americans were killed in the harbour last night because some young people thought it would be fun to sail irresponsibly on jetskis,” Jensen wrote on Facebook. “It’s deeply tragic. My thoughts go out to the families of the deceased at this time. There should be no doubt: Jetskis have as much right to be in the harbour as motorcycles in playgrounds. Any use of jetskis is prohibited without written permission.”
He added that the police have long been aware of the dangers posed by jetskis in the harbour.
“The punishments perhaps need to be increased so the people with jetskis think extra carefully before they sail out into the harbour.