The West

$10m payout for burns victim
Turia Pitt, suffered horrific burns during the Racing the Planet event.

Kimberley ultramarathon fire victim Turia Pitt has reached a multi-million-dollar settlement with event organiser Racing the Planet.

Ms Pitt and another runner Kate Sanderson suffered life-threatening burns to 60 per cent of their bodies when fire swept through the 100km race course near Kununurra on September 2, 2011.

A WA parliamentary committee found Hong Kong-based Racing the Planet did not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of competitors.


Ms Sanderson, 38, settled with Racing the Planet last year in a separate agreement.

Ms Pitt's lawyer Greg Walsh said yesterday that Supreme Court action launched in February last year had ended in an out-of-court settlement.

"Turia has shown enormous courage and dignity and I'm very relieved and happy for her and (her boyfriend) Michael (Hoskin) that this matter has now come to an end," he said.

Turia Pitt when she gave evidence before the parliamentary committee.

"She will be left with horrific injuries for the rest of her life but at least she won't have to put up with the stress and worry of a protracted court case."

Mr Walsh would not comment on the details of the payout.

Ms Pitt, 26, and Ms Sanderson were offered a $450,000 "act-of-grace" payment from the WA Government in 2012 after a parliamentary committee handed down its findings into the government-sponsored event.

It found "serious flaws" in Tourism WA's assessment processes and criticised inaccurate information given to the Tourism WA board and then tourism minister Kim Hames.

Ms Sanderson settled with Racing the Planet in September and said she was pleased to "close the book" on the incident, which left her with extensive burns. Half of her left foot had to be amputated.

Turia Pitt

"I can move on from the accident and start afresh - from here on, it's a new period of my life," she said yesterday.

Ms Pitt and Ms Sanderson returned to the Kimberley for the first time since the fire to take part in the Lake Argyle swim this month.

Ms Sanderson also competed in this month's 700km Gibb Challenge cycling event, raising more than $20,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Racing the Planet founder Mary Gadams, who has previously denied liability for the injured competitors, denied knowledge of any settlement but Mr Walsh confirmed it had taken place.

Ms Gadams said she wanted the WA Government to commit to investigating the cause of the fire, which she believed was illegally lit.

The West Australian

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