Prosecution of farming partnership after student drowns
A Cambridgeshire farming partnership has been sentenced following the death of a 17-year-old student who was undertaking pest and predator control work at Kingfishers Bridge Wetland in Wicken. His 22-year-old brother also died as he dived in from the lakeside where he was watching, in an attempt to save his brother.
Luke Yardy, from Stretham, drowned on 11 September 2011 when he fell from a small boat while trying to retrieve the carcass of a dead bird from a lake, shot the previous evening as part of a cull.
The HSE stated that he would not have drowned had he been wearing a floatation device.
Cambridge Crown Court heard that Luke had also had no training in the use of boats or water craft.
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 on 14 February by HSE after an investigation found he had not been provided with a life jacket.
He quickly got into difficulty when he fell into the water. His brother, Ashley Yardy, 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, HSE 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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