Fatal fall from ute tray

A BIT of fun on Boambee Beach has turned to tragedy with the death of a young Coffs Harbour man.

Matthew Jeffries, 21, died in hospital after he fell from the back of a white Mitsubishi Triton ute which was heading south along the beach early on Saturday.

Accident investigators are still trying to determine what caused Mr Jeffries to fall out. He landed heavily on the sand and sustained serious injuries.

The driver, a 29-year-old Bathurst man, has been charged with high-range drink driving after a breath analysis of .150 and his licence has been suspended.

Police say further charges are pending.

Mr Jeffries was one of five people riding on the ute's back tray when disaster struck about one-and-a-half kilometres south of Gallows Beach at 2.45am.

Also on the back of the ute were a 21-year-old Coffs Harbour woman, a 22-year-old Coffs Harbour man and two other females, one of whom is from Queensland.

The driver had a 22-year-old Emerald Beach man in the front passenger seat of the ute.

Police and paramedics in four-wheel-drives dashed to the scene when the alarm was raised.

Mr Jeffries was treated at the scene before he was taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus, where he died at 4am.

Police have impounded the utility for mechanical examination as investigations into the cause of the accident continue.

The driver, who is being interviewed about the incident along with other witnesses, will face Coffs Harbour Local Court on November 22.

Officers are now preparing a report for the coroner.



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