Mum-of-three, 38, killed by boat propeller in front of horrified family on holiday

A MUM was killed by a boat propeller in front of her horrified family while on holiday, an investigation found.

Laura Perry was on the boat with her partner, three sons aged four, 14 and 16, her parents, sister and 16-year-old niece when the horror unfolded.

The 38-year-old fell from the rear deck of the 12.8m motor cruiser after it hit a wall on the River Bure in the Norfolk Broads.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report said Laura suffered multiple injuries after she became tangled in rope and the propeller.

Tragically she drowned in the water in front of her heartbroken family, who were on the third day of a five-day holiday in August 2019.

The investigation found it was "likely" Laura might not have drowned if the boat was fitted with an adequate guardrail.

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There were also further issues related to the "technical features of the dual-helm control system".

At the time of the tragedy, Laura's partner was nominated skipper and her sister was driving the boat.

A training handover from the boat operator took "about ten minutes" as the family's luggage was being loaded.

The report said "both the boat handover and the documentation provided to the family were insufficient to ensure that the hire party were competent to drive a boat with dual-helm control".

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It also made recommendations about improving guidance for people hiring boats.

In October 2020, the chief inspector of marine accidents made urgent recommendations.

These included strengthening requirements for person overboard prevention, handover procedures and engine control systems.

Chief inspector Andrew Moll said: "Large motor cruisers with sophisticated controls are becoming increasingly common and are often driven by members of the public who have limited or no proficiency in boat handling.

"It is imperative that complex multi-helm controls incorporate appropriate technical features and indications to minimise the likelihood of an inadvertent loss of control.

"Adequate protection around exposed deck areas is equally important in ensuring that no one falls into the water.

"Furthermore, handovers, including in-water demonstrations, and hire boat documentation need to be complete and rigorous in order to ensure that hirers have sufficient proficiency to safely handle the vessel in their charge.

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"Following this investigation, I have made recommendations to enhance the governance, oversight and safety of hire boat operations.

"Such an assessment is essential to ensuring that another similar accident to this does not happen again."

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