Booze found in crashed boat

Vanderbijlpark - The police are investigating the possibility that the consumption of alcohol had played a role in Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius's boating accident.

On Monday policemen found liquor bottles on Pistorius's boat after salvaging the boat from the bottom of the Vaal River.

The police are investigating a case of negligent driving after Pistorius's boat apparently first crashed into and then drove over a pier on the Vaal River this weekend.

"We are investigating the possibility that the consumption of alcohol had played a role in the boating accident," said Superintendent Maria Mazibuko, police spokesperson.

Blood alcohol level not tested

The blood alcohol limit for operators of water-borne vessels is 0.05g alcohol per 100ml blood - the same as for motorists.

Pistorius is said to have been at the helm when the accident happened. His blood alcohol levels were apparently not tested after the accident.

Inspector Kinnie Steyn, police spokesperson, said a decision on whether to charge Pistorius or not would be taken later.

"The police investigation must first be completed," she said.

Mazibuko said the police have not yet taken Pistorius's statement. "It will be done as soon as possible," she said.

Moved to general ward

On Tuesday afternoon Pistorius was moved from the intensive care unit at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg to a private room in the general ward, reports Magdel Fourie.

"We don't expect him to be discharged from hospital before Friday," said Amelda Swartz, hospital spokesperson.

Beeld reported on Tuesday that Vaalrand police divers had found the boat near a damaged pier.

A caretaker, David Mokhshane, 53, said the pier was undamaged on Saturday, but on Sunday it had been ripped from its straining posts.

Pistorius took ownership of boat

Beeld was told by a reliable source that Pistorius had taken ownership of the second-hand boat only four days before the accident.

John Abercrombie of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) examined the boat after it was lifted from the river.

"Samsa's aim is to establish the cause of boating accidents like this and find ways of preventing them from happening in the future," he said.

"It is not our job to charge possible culprits."

As far as could be established, it appears that Pistorius had not yet obtained a competency certificate from Samsa.

In terms of new safety measures, which come into effect on 1 March, anyone wanting to operate a jet ski, a boat generating more than 15 horsepower or a yacht of longer than nine metres on an inland dam or river will need a competency certificate, reports Carina van Wyk.

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