Collie teenager avoids spinal injury after performing a bodyboard stunt at Lake Kepwari

In March last year, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said he didn’t want to see Collie locals risking their lives by using Lake Kepwari before it was safe and ready. Photo: Jeremy Hedley.
In March last year, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said he didn’t want to see Collie locals risking their lives by using Lake Kepwari before it was safe and ready. Photo: Jeremy Hedley.

A Collie teenager is lucky to be alive after he came flying off his bodyboard in an accident at Lake Kepwari on New Year’s Day. 

Just before 4pm, Ashley Shepherd seriously injured himself after performing a stunt involving a body board, a rope and a ute. 

The 19-year-old fell off the board before he collided into the sand bar of the lake, landing on his neck. 

Witnesses who were with him at the time of the accident new basic first aid and knew not to move him. 

Ashley was attended to by the RAC Rescue helicopter and airlifted to the Royal Perth Hospital where he was treated for potential spinal injuries.

Royal Perth Hospital's head of trauma Dr Sudhakar Rao said he was extremely lucky to not be wheelchair bound. 

“Ashley was probably just a small degree of force away from snapping his neck,” he said.

Ashley was discharged from hospital late Wednesday night, January 2.

The lake, located in Cardiff, is an old open-cut mine owned by Premier Coal which has filled with water since mining ceased in the late 1990s.

Back in March last year, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray urged residents to be patient in order to ensure Lake Kepwari is safe for use before it is opened to the public, after there was a death at a similar abandoned quarry in the Pilbara.

A man died after two jetskis collided at the disused Atlas Iron Pardoo mine, about 70km north of Port Hedland.

Like Lake Kepwari, the quarry was not open to the public but was often used by locals for recreational activities.

Mr Murray said it was awful to hear about the accident and that he didn’t want to see Collie locals risking their lives by using Lake Kepwari before it was safe and ready.