KIDS clambering over fencing and leaping from the Sienna Daisy and into the river have drawn the ire of the business owners and search and rescue volunteers.
The Sienna Daisy is moored just over 100 metres from a riverside tribute to 21-year-old Bigul Pandit.
A team effort from business owner Fraser Knowles, Albury Search and Rescue, Albury Police, and Maritime NSW, as well as members of the Mitta Canoe Club have helped hustle youngsters off the boat when seen, but Mr Knowles says it is an ongoing issue.
In addition to stress over the potential for injury, Mr Knowles said trespassers had caused significant damage to parts of the vessel, even trying to throw furniture overboard and release it from its moorings.
“It is an absolute nightmare,” he said.
“It’s a huge worry, it’s been keeping us up at night, hoping nobody gets hurt.
“The damage is also a big financial strain, it’s been broken into, all the lights have been smashed, they even tried to untie it from its moorings.”
The issue has also served to irritate Albury Border Search and Rescue Squad captain Paul Marshall.
Just days after calling for people to be respectful of the area as the search for Mr Pandit continues, Mr Marshall said it was disappointing behaviour.
“We are still searching for Bigul, it’s in bad taste to be doing that sort of thing,” he said.
“Nobody wants to stop anybody from having a good time, it’s a beautiful area, but there is a family coming down quite regularly, and seeing those risky behaviours would surely trigger an emotional response in them, that their loved one was doing something relatively safe and was lost in the river.
“To see these people putting themselves further in danger would be quite hurtful.”
Beyond the insensitivity to the grieving family, the search leader said people jumping off the cruise vessel were also at extreme risk of injuring themselves.
“I’ve always maintained the river is a great place to cool off, but it’s a dangerous place,” Mr Marshall said.
“Doing dangerous things in a dangerous place is a recipe for disaster.
“Again, I don’t want people not to have fun, but the danger of being injured or worse increases tenfold with that sort of behaviour.
“There are definitely hidden dangers beneath the surface, a lot of debris and all sorts of things.
“It’s about four metres deep in that area, if you get caught on something it is a very long way to the surface.”
Mr Knowles confirmed Mr Marshall’s warning of dangers in the depths.
“I know what happens underneath the river,” he said..
“You’d just absolutely hate for someone to be hurt.”
Low river levels have prevented the Sienna Daisy from operating so far in January.
Mr Knowles plans to run the first trips along the river this weekend if current water levels hold.
The vessel was originally set to launch last weekend, but remained moored out of respect for the search for Mr Pandit.
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