Boy, three, tripped over a clump of grass before falling into a canal
Boy, three, tripped over a clump of grass before falling into a canal and being swept to his death in a weir, coroner hears as he declares the tragedy an accident
- Dylan Milsom was swept downstream after toppling into canal water in Newbury
- The blonde-haired toddler walked along the canal towpath to find hungry ducks
- But the blonde-haired toddler stumbled and was ‘sucked’ into a weir
A three-year-old boy tripped on a tuft of grass while feeding the ducks and fell headfirst into a canal where he tragically drowned, a coroner heard today.
Dylan Milsom was swept downstream after toppling into the fast flowing water of the Kennet and Avon Canal in Newbury, Berkshire, on a family day out on Saturday, March 13, just before Mother’s Day.
The blonde-haired toddler walked along the canal towpath to find hungry ducks, venturing closer to the edge of the river so that his bread would land in the water.
But he stumbled and was ‘sucked’ into a weir, before his body was spotted floating under the water by rescuers, Berkshire Coroners Court was told.
Assistant coroner Ian Wade QC today ruled his tragic death was an ‘accident.’
Dylan’s grandmother Jackie Arrowsmith had just caught the top of his hair as he toppled into the freezing water.
In evidence to the inquest she said: ‘Dylan tripped on a tuft of grass which caused him to fall into the water. I threw myself to the floor and grabbed Dylan, I caught the top of his hair but I could not grab anything else.’
Dylan Milsom was swept downstream after toppling into the fast flowing canal water in Newbury, Berkshire, on a family day out just before Mother’s Day
Emergency service workers were able to rescue Shelley but were unable to find Dylan and he died a short while later in hospital. Pictured: Emergency services on the scene
Seconds after realising her three-year-old son had fallen in, Shelley Nardini dived into the canal to try to rescue him before the pair were sucked into the weir and spat out the other side.
In an emotional statement, Shelley said: ‘Dylan had been wanting to feed the ducks for a long time… he was throwing the bread but it wasn’t good enough as it was going on the floor. There was a gate, Dylan went under and I told him to hold on.
‘I turned around to collect the second bag of bread when I heard my mother shout. I turned around and saw Dylan in the water. I jumped in, Dylan was ahead of me. I saw there was a weir which Dylan and I got sucked into.
‘The current was really fast and I could not see Dylan. I grabbed onto a tree and I was shouting at my mum to find Dylan and call an ambulance. Lots of people had gathered and I was shouting at them to find my boy.’
Passers-by Clare Perrot and Steven Milson frantically dialled 999 and acted rapidly to hoist the 36-year-old shocked mother out of the water, after she had clung on to a branch to save herself from being swept away.
Dylan Milsom (left) and his mother Shelley Nardini (right) were by the Kennet and Avon Canal in Newbury, Berkshire, when he fell in and was dragged into the weir, a coroner’s court heard
The coroner heard that chilling CCTV footage graphically captured the tragic events, as the boy was swept downstream, his mother jumping in to save him and the ‘desperate’ attempts of emergency services to locate and revive him.
Emergency services rushed to the Kennet and Avon Canal in Newbury, on March 13 where a policeman spotted a ‘blue coloured strip’ in the water which was the silhouette of toddler Dylan.
Presiding at Berkshire Coroners Court, Ian Wade QC heard how emergency service crews pulled Dylan’s unconscious body from the water and administered CPR before he was flown by helicopter to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Tragically, Dr Moya Dawson declared him deceased before confirming the cause of death was ‘death by drowning.’ Dylan died just hours before he was due to celebrate Mother’s Day with his devastated mum.
Today assistant Berkshire coroner Mr Wade QC ruled his tragic death was an ‘accident.’
He concluded: ‘Dylan loved to feed the ducks and we all do what we can to encourage youngsters to engage with nature. You give them the bread, stand with them but sometimes things go wrong.
‘The water was fast flowing, Dylan was swept away and he never resurfaced until he was found floating under the surface. This was nobody’s fault, this was a plainly unwanted and unforeseen accident. The tragedy is unbearable.’
A fundraising page had raised over £6,000 today for the little boy’s funeral and to ‘ease the financial pressure’ on his family.
‘This was an extremely tragic accident, that happened in our canal in Newbury. Despite the incredible efforts made by his mother and the emergency services, a beautiful three year old boy, sadly lost his life,’ the Go Fund Me page said.
The tragic death of the toddler sparked plans for a water safety partnership after the boy and his mother fell into the Kennet and Avon Canal in Newbury, Berks., with officials wanting to make it safer.
Mark Evans from the Canal and River Trust said: ‘The trust has involved Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue, Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service to come together to form a water safety partnership to improve education to reduce accidental deaths.’
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