Man decapitated in front of family as he tested hovercraft he had built himself

A 40-year-old New Zealand man was decapitated in front of horrified family and friends while testing a hovercraft he built at home

Dr Alastair Kenneth Senior was on Muriwai beach in Auckland when the propeller he was checking sheared off and hit him in the head.

Loved ones say Dr Senior was 'pursuing his dream' and was about to drive the hovercraft for the first time, which he had made from a kit.

Tragedy: The waters around Auckland (pictured) are ideal for amateur hovercraft enthusiasts

Tragedy: The waters around Auckland (pictured) are ideal for amateur hovercraft enthusiasts

Police say his partner was there with a neighbour as the tragic accident unfolded.

Investigating Sergeant Colin Nuttall said there had been a 'collapse in the structure' when the accident happened about midday on Sunday.

'He took it up there for a test-run. It was the first time he'd tried to drive it, but I'm not sure if it was the first time he'd started it up,' he said.

'His partner and neighbour were there at the time, they saw it. We will be talking with the family.

'At the moment there are no regulations. You cannot register hovercraft on the road and they do not have warrant of fitness. So you can build them and operate them off the road without rules,' he added.

Engineers and Maritime New Zealand have been called in to investigate what went wrong and the tragic death.

A former member of the Hovercraft Club of New Zealand, Ashley Shaw, said today homemade hovercrafts are generally safe.

'To make them, it's a piece of cake. I designed my own,' he said.

'Hovercraft are inherently very, very safe and simple devices. They are quite stable.'

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