Police are trying to find out what caused a jet ski crash which left a woman dead and a child in hospital on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

A boat and a jet ski collided on the Nerong Inlet at Nerong, south of Forster, about 5.30pm on Friday.

A 54-year-old woman, who was driving the jet ski, was killed and her eight-year-old passenger was flown to the John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition with a broken leg.

A friend described her as a “lovely person” who had been very active in the community since moving to Nerong 18 months ago.

The NSW Marine Area Command was investigating how the accident occurred.

Marine Area Command’s Superintendent Mark Hutchings said it would be a complex investigation.

“The boat has been taken to a secure location for forensic examination. Specialist marine investigators have been sent to the area to work with local detectives so a report can be prepared for the coroner.”

The 46-year-old skipper of the boat suffered a broken nose and fractured ribs, and was also taken to the hospital but has since been discharged.

A 20-year-old man, who was on board the boat at the time, was uninjured.

Woman ‘a lovely person’

David, who wished to be known by his first name, said the woman was his friend and a great member of the community.

“Nerong has just lost a very good neighbour, working neighbour, (her) husband over there is very distraught,” he said.

He said the woman was confident and experienced on the water.

“It’s just a tragic accident and the police now have to work out what went wrong,” he said.

“We’ve never had an accident here before — to my knowledge there’s never been a bang or anything like that here and I use the waterways myself.”

Detectives from Manning/Great Lakes Local Area Command investigating the crash appealed for any witnesses to come forward.