Wicken: Farming Firm Fined After Death Of Brothers

17 February 2014, 16:21

A Cambridgeshire farming partnership has been fined following the death of two brothers at a lake in Wicken.

17 year old Luke Yardy from Stretham drowned on 11th September 2011.

He fell from a small boat while trying to remove the carcass of a dead bird from a lake.

The animal had been shot the previous evening as part of a cull.

He had been engaged to work on the site by AC, PC, & RC Green, a farming partnership managing the wetland on behalf of the Kingfishers Bridge Wetland Creation Trust. 

The partnership was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found he had not been given a life jacket to wear. 

On Friday (14th February) Cambridge Crown Court heard Mr Yardy had also not received any training in the use of boats or water craft. 

He quickly got into difficulty when he fell into the water. 

His brother, Ashley Yardy, 22, who was watching from the lakeside, entered the lake to attempt a rescue, but he also drowned despite managing to swim out and reach his brother.

Their bodies were recovered a significant time later after the emergency services were called. 

AC, PC, & RC Green, of Wicken, Ely was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £31,252 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 4(2) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Peter Burns said: "This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident that has taken the lives of two loving brothers and devastated their family and friends. 

Had Luke been wearing a simple floatation aid, like a life jacket, then he would not have drowned, and Ashley would not have needed to attempt a rescue. 

Those in control of lakes that people are allowed to access by boat should ensure that lifejackets are worn at all times unless there are specific grounds for not doing so. 

That wasn't the case here, and a jacket should have been worn."

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