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Police hunt group of ‘moron’ jet skiers after paddleboarder mown down

Police are hunting a group of “moron” jet skiers who mowed down and nearly killed a paddleboarder after speeding towards him at 50mph.

Ben Gray was paddling in a low-speed area off Bournemouth beach when six jet skiers approached him from behind and one deliberately crossed the marker buoys and performed a hard turn just seven feet away.

The manoeuvre caused an arc of water to “blast” the 44-year-old off his Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), and as he swam back towards his board Mr Gray said he was almost struck and killed by a second jet ski that came within three feet of him.

Shockingly witnesses on the beach said they heard the jet skier group cheer at Mr Gray falling off his board before they zoomed off.

Mr Gray, who said he feared for his life, managed to climb on his SUP and carried on paddling towards his destination of Avon Beach, Christchurch.

Mr Gray said he encountered the jet skiers minutes later as one of their craft had broken down and he gave them a piece of his mind. The matter has since been reported to Dorset Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are investigating.

Last year new legislation aimed at cracking down on reckless jet skiers came into force and they are now subjected to the same regulations as ships.

Offenders caught dangerously riding a jet ski may now be prosecuted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and face a maximum sentence of two years in jail and an unlimited fine.

Mr Gray, a self-employed builder, has taken to social media to appeal for witnesses who saw the group who he said deliberately targeted him.

He said: “I heard them coming. I looked over my shoulder and they were just outside the marker buoys, there was probably about 40ft or 50ft between us.

“They got louder and louder and I was ready for their wake which I am used to dealing with.

“When I turned my head again they were driving towards me. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw one start banking away. He turned on a sixpence and hard locked to the right.

“He was about two metres from me and I saw the underside of his hull. The arc of water just blew me off my board. Then I heard the same noise again and another guy had come into the zone and did the same move.

“He was within one metre of me, I could have touched the jet ski. For a nano-second I was resigned to my fate and that this was probably it.

“I think jet skis attract a certain type of person and there is a disproportionate number of them who are morons who have no skill or knowledge of the water or courtesy of other water users.”

Witness Paul West posted on social media: “We were on Southbourne beach when you passed by. We then noticed the group of about six jet skis heading in the same direction, loud and noisy.

“Then one of them sped up behind you, taking you out. From where we were standing it looked as if he was less than a metre from you and absolutely flying. We could hear the cheers from the others as you went down.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “At 1.23pm on June 2, Dorset Police received a report of jet skiers riding in an anti-social manner in the area of Hengistbury Head in Mudeford. Enquiries have been carried out and no arrests have been made.”

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