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Water-skiing champ Sarah Teelow dies after crash at start of race

Australian water skier Sarah Teelow died Monday, a day after falling off her skis and crashing during the opening moments of the high-speed, 75-mile Bridge-to-Bridge race on the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney.

The 20-year-old who recently won the formula 2 category at the World Waterski Racing Championships in Spain was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition with spinal and head injuries but died the next night.

No one knows what caused the accident, which is being investigated by police. Ski Racing Australia said conditions were good and the sea was slight at the time.

''There is no rhyme or reason to it," Ray Patterson, who was in the boat observing Teelow, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's just an awkward fall. It's not dangerous. It's no more dangerous than playing football.''

Teelow, daughter of two-time world water ski champion Tania Teelow, was the seventh water skier to die in an accident in Australia in the last five years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Ski Racing NSW said on its website: "Sarah represents all that is good about our sport and its competitors and it is a great sadness to acknowledge that she will not be gracing our waters again. A beautiful girl and a great competitor, she will be sorely missed."

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