Police were continuing investigations on Wednesday into the circumstances under which a speed-boat crashed into the rocks off Latchi, Paphos, on Monday night, killing one Chinese woman and critically injuring three others.
Aboard the boat were the woman, 32, along with a Chinese couple and their two children, who were in Cyprus on holiday, and the boat’s operator.
Damage to the speed-boat, which was found on Tuesday some seven nautical miles from Latchi port, suggests it had been traveling at excessive speed too close to the shore, according to investigators.
Chief boat inspector at the Ministry of Communication and Works Kyriacos Kofteros told state radio that the damage to the boat’s bow, which was completely destroyed, suggested impact at high speed, and that the operator must have violated the rule mandating that boats must remain at least 100 metres away from the shore at all times.
“If the boat had kept the minimum distance of 100 metres from the shore, the operator would have had the opportunity to react,” Kofteros said.
“The result of the impact suggests that the minimum-distance precaution was not taken, and the boat may have reached speeds up to 40 knots, which is excessive.”
In fact, Kofteros added, at a distance of 100 metres from the shore the maximum speed allowed is three knots.
Police believe the three people injured in the crash, who are currently hospitalised and unable to communicate, will be able to shed light into the circumstances of the accident once their condition improves.
So far, investigators have identified two main possibilities, one involving malfunction to the boat’s engine, which has been deemed unlikely due to the estimated velocity on impact, and the other a possible health-related incident suffered by the operator.
The latter scenario, however, can only be pursued further once the operator’s condition improves.
The operator, 50-year-old Minas Ioannou, as well as a 37-year-old Chinese man and his 11-year-old daughter, were seriously injured, while the man’s wife and 10-year-old were only lightly injured.
Meanwhile, investigators have also found that the boat was not licensed and its condition had not been inspected by the relevant state agencies since it was registered in 2012, while the state of its exterior suggests a complete lack of maintenance.
Kofteros told state radio that there are many problems that must be addressed with regard to the market of leisure speed-boats, which operate as floating taxis, not least of which is the need to ensure that they are handled only by authorised personnel.