Shocking: University sport GM Tony Jermyn addresses the media.
Shocking: University sport GM Tony Jermyn addresses the media.

Competitor dies while crossing hwy

HE was here to relax with his mates, play football at the Eastern University Games and celebrate life.

But the 20-year-old University of Sydney student is now dead after he was struck by a car on the Pacific Highway at Sapphire on Sunday evening.

Further deepening the tragedy, the 25-year-old woman who hit him was a Brisbane nurse returning to Coffs Harbour for a funeral. She administered first aid at the scene.

The Gladesville man was reportedly near his accommodation and was believed to be with friends who had either called a cab or were trying to hail one when disaster struck at 10.15pm.

Police said he was trying to cross the highway when he ran into the path of the southbound Mazda 323 south of Aqualuna Beach Resort near Sapphire Crescent.

The man sustained serious head injuries and a broken foot.

He was taken in a critical condition to Coffs Harbour Health Campus, where he died at 4.30am yesterday.

At the request of his distressed family, Australian University Sport and the University of Sydney were not releasing his name.

Despite their grief and to honour his memory, the man's shattered teammates and friends will continue to compete at the games. One minute's silence will be held across all games venues at noon today.

A shellshocked Australian University Sport general manager Tony Jermyn was not prepared to answer questions about the student, nor the circumstances surrounding the accident.

“Australian University Sport and the Eastern University Games team are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic accident on Sunday evening involving a student participating in the games,” he wrote in a statement.

“The student's university is offering counselling assistance to his fellow games participants and have offered to bring home students who wish to return earlier than scheduled.

“The university is also offering any support it can to his family at this extremely difficult time.”

Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades was saddened by the death of the man, a second-year student at Sydney University's Faculty of Health Sciences.

“It's heartbreaking, there's no doubt about it,” Cr Rhoades said. “The organisers, competitors, the man's family and his colleagues – it's a feeling of shock for all of them.

“No-one wishes anything like this to happen. Everyone's thoughts are with the young man's family to get them through this difficult time.”

The accident prompted a police warning to the visiting students.

“It's a tragic reminder for the other students who are here for the university games that some of the roads that come through Coffs Harbour are extremely busy and pedestrians need to take extreme care when crossing roads,” said Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay.

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